Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda)


French: Diamant à queue rousse German: Binsenamadine Spanish: Diamante colirrojo

Amadina ruficauda


, 1837,

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


Sometimes placed in a monotypic genus, Bathilda. Proposed race subclarescens (described from Parry Creek, in NE Western Australia) appears to exhibit no constant differences from clarescens, and is synonymized with latter. Nominate race extinct. One extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. r. clarescens (E. J. O. Hartert, 1899) – N Western Australia (S to Gascoyne R and lower Fitzroy drainage) E to N Northern Territory (S to middle Victoria R and middle McArthur R) and N Queensland (Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula).
  • N. r. ruficauda (Gould, 1837) – WC & coastal E Queensland.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm; 8·5-13·8 g (clarescens). Male nominate race has fore­crown, lores and face to upper throat red, white dots above eye and on cheek;... read more


    Call a loud or penetrating "ssit" or "seet"; also a contact call, "tlit... read more


    Damp grassland and sedge (Cyperaceae) areas with scattered shrubs or trees, tall grass and rushes (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Grass seeds; also insects and other small invertebrates. Takes half-ripe and ripening grains of annual grasses, especially sorghum (... read more


    Breeds immediately before and during wet months; eggs recorded in Feb–May and Sept, and nestlings in May–Jun and Aug. Nests in... read more


    Resident. Local dispersal, with sporadic and irregular occurrence, and short-term absence from more... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Locally common to rare. Estimated global population c. 205,000 breeding individuals, of which nominate race no... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda). 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 25 January 2020).