Diamond Firetails are one of Australia’s more beautiful finches and I am pleased that I can see them within a short distance of my home in Murray Bridge, South Australia. In fact, we have occasionally seen this species in our garden, and on one occasion one even came to one of our bird baths.
Diamond Firetails are widespread in this region without being very common anywhere. In my experience they are usually encountered singly or in a small flock of only a few. The bird in several of the photos today was one of about four we saw at Brown’s Road, Monarto near Murray Bridge several years ago. The photos aren’t brilliant because these birds were rather wary and didn’t allow me to approach too close, even with the 20x zoom on my camera.
Australian Finches would have to be on many people’s lists of beautiful birds. Some, like the Gouldian Finch of northern Australia, are simply stunning. It is no wonder that they are highly popular with aviculturalists.
One of the local finches here in Murray Bridge South Australia is the very beautiful Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata). It is slightly smaller than the common House Sparrow found in many of our parks and gardens. The Diamond Firetail is widely spread in this district but is not common anywhere. According to the New Atlas of Australian Birds its distribution covers most of south eastern Australia south of a line from Port Augusta to Brisbane. It is not found in Tasmania. (To view map click here)
The Diamond Firetail is a small bird some 12-13cm in size. It has a bright, unmistakable red beak and red rump with a black tail. Its throat and breast is white with a black band across it. The white spotted black flanks give it the appearance of diamonds studded along its sides.
I have observed this beautiful species in a number of localities near my home. The best sightings have been in our own garden where it is in infrequent visitor. On several occasions it has delighted us in visiting our bird bath. Every time it has been such a brief visit. Its next visit must come soon – it hasn’t been since I bought my new camera. I’d love to get a close up photo of its stunning colours. [UPDATE: the photos on this page were added in March 2007]
An unusual sighting of this species was recorded recently near Callington (about 20km west of here). A large flock of over 35 was reported on Birdpedia. I have usually only seen them in ones or twos.