Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta)


French: Diamant modeste German: Zeresamadine Spanish: Diamante modesto

Amadina modesta


, 1837,

“New Holland“= interior of New South Wales, Australia


Sometimes placed in a monotypic genus, Aidemosyne, but molecular studies indicate close relationship with N. temporalis and N. ruficauda. Monotypic.


E Queensland S to E New South Wales, inland to Julia Creek, Windorah and Bourke, in E Australia.

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 11·5-13·8 g. Male has forehead and crown dark reddish-brown (plum-coloured), nape to back and upper­wing brown, rump and uppertail-coverts barred brown and white,... read more


Call a single "tlip" or "tyeet", sometimes as a double note; alarm a sharp "tyait". Song begins... read more


Open woodland, scrub and thickets, tall grass and reeds along watercourses, also gardens and... read more

Food and feeding

Grass seeds, also small seeds of other annual plants; also some invertebrates. Feeds on the ground, and also while perched on stems of... read more


Season mainly Sept–Jan, in Queensland Aug–Apr; nestlings as late as Apr in New South Wales. Courting male carries grass in bill... read more


Resident and seasonally dispersive. In S limit of range appears mainly in summer, and vagrant W of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to scarce; occasionally very common at particular localities. Formerly more widespread and numerous in SE Queensland. Was previously... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2018). Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta). 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 24 March 2018).