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... read more


Call a single "tlip" or "tyeet", sometimes as a double note; alarm a sharp... 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. (2019). 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 6 December 2019).