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Introducing World’s Rarest Bird Wednesdays

Chris Merkord

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This March, PUP will be rolling out The World’s Rarest Birds. The book includes 515 photographs of some of the rarest birds in the world that are either Endangered, Critically Endangered, or only exist in captivity. In addition to the photographs, acclaimed wildlife artist Tomasz Cofta contributed illustrations for 75 species that have never been photographed. From every continent and places in between, authors Erik Hirschfeld, Andy Swash & Robert Still give information about specific bird species, particular conservation challenges, and threatened bird hotspots.


While the book does not debut until March, every Wednesday we will be unveiling a new bird species that is included in the book and the contributing factors to why these birds are rare. Come back every Wednesday for a sneak peek into the book!


The Gouldian Finch- Erythura gouldiae


Photo: Don Hadden


This bright colored bird is found in certain grassland sites in Northern Australia. The Gouldian Finch is relatively small at about 11-12.5 cm. The adult Gouldian Finch appears as the image shows but a juvenile Gouldian Finch is more olive and bulkier. If you could find one of these Near Threatened birds, they gather at water holes during the dry season. They live in open, tropical woodland with a grassy understorey, nesting almost exclusively in tree-hollows.


While the population of Gouldian Finches is very low, the population has stopped declining. In 2012 , it was downlisted from Endangered to Near Threatened. There are about 2,400 mature Gouldian Finches. Reasons for the Gouldian Finch’s small population is due to overgrazing and changes in fire management. In grasslands, overgrazing can rid the area of  the plants that are needed by species such as the Gouldian Finch. “Suppression of fires that were part of grassland management regimes also leads to an increase in old, coarse vegetation and encroachment of scrub.”



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