Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Masked Finch (Poephila personata)


French: Diamant masqué German: Maskenamadine Spanish: Diamante enmascarado

Poephila personata


, 1842,

interior from Port Essington = Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia


Sometimes separated in a monotypic genus, Neopoephila. Races differ in morphology and plumage. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. personata Gould, 1842 – Masked Finch – Western Australia (from Kimberley Division) E to NW Queensland (SE Gulf of Carpentaria at lower Nicholson R).
  • P. p. leucotis Gould, 1847 – White-eared Finch – N Queensland from Cape York Peninsula S to SE Gulf of Carpentaria (lower Norman R) and, in E, to Cairns area.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 10·5-17 g. Nominate race has crown to back and upperwing brown, rump and uppertail-coverts white, long pointed tail black; forehead and lores to upper throat... read more


    Distance contact call a loud "tiat"; soft contact call a soft "twat, twat"; nest call high-pitched... read more


    Open woodland with good cover of small scrub and grass, on open grassy plains with a few bushes.

    Food and feeding

    Grass seeds, both ripe and half-ripe, especially of Sorghum; also some invertebrates, especially during breeding season. Nestling... read more


    Breeding after end of wet season, Feb–Jun in Western Australia (Kimberley), Nov–Jul in Northern Territory and Apr and Aug in... read more


    Resident, with some local movement; a few ringing recoveries at 10–100 km. In dry seasons... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread in much of N Australia; common to locally common. In N Northern Territory, recorded densities of 0·23 birds/ha at Yinberrie Hills (NW of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Masked Finch (Poephila personata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).