Diamonded Firetail

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Common Name: Diamond Firetail
Scientific Name: Stagonopleura guttata

Size: 4-5 inches (10-13 cm)

Habitat: Australia; found in eastern Australia, from Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, to south-eastern Queensland, commonly found on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Eucalypt forest and woodland and mallee country. Will inhabit farmlands and grasslands

Status: Near threatened. Global population: 200,000. Much habitat has been cleared, with remaining fragments gradually becoming unsuitable as a result of competition with invasive species, predation of adults or young, alteration of vegetation structure through over-grazing, weed invasion, salinisation and other flow-on processes. Despite legislation to stop the large-scale clearing of habitat in New South Wales, 640,000 ha were approved for clearing in that state between 1998 and 2005 and, although not all of this will have been cleared, an unknown amount was cleared illegally. The severity of most degradation is correlated with the area of the fragment. Factors that have been postulated to be adversely affecting this species in particular include the loss of key food plants and habitat as a result of invasion by exotic grasses more suitable for flock-foraging Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis, whose expansion in some areas may have disadvantaged S. guttata. In the north of the range, a change in fire and grazing regimes may have played an important part in the decline. Isolated subpopulations may be susceptible to illegal trapping.

Diet: Ripe or partially ripe seeds; occasionally eat insects and their larvae. Feeding occurs on the ground in groups.

Nesting: The Diamond Firetail builds a nest with green grass blades and stems and lines it with fine grasses and feathers. The nest can be found in trees and shrubs with dense foliage and has sometimes been known to build in the base of a hawk's nest. The nest is built by both partners but only the female does the weaving. Both partners incubate the eggs and care for the young. Usually only one clutch is laid per season

Cool Facts: During courtship, the male Diamond Firetail holds a long piece of green grass in his bill, then flies to a branch where he sits near the female and begins to bob up and down. When she approaches, he twists his neck around and opens his bill just like young begging for food.

Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume 2

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