SCIENTIFIC NAME: Taeniopygia bichenovii
The Double-barred Finch is a small white, gray, and black bird with white rump and black tail. It is one of the long-tailed grass-finches and is notable for its owl- faced features. It is sometimes referred to as the Bicheno's Finch or as the Owl Finch.
It is a 10 – 11 cm long munia-like bird. It has a white face bordered with black, brown upperparts and throat, and white underparts.
The throat and underparts are separated by another black line. The wings are patterned in brown and white.
The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller and browner.
A less common subspecies with brown or black underparts is known to exist.
CALL: A soft “tet” or a louder “peew”.
SONG: A soft fluting, which is somewhat like the Zebra Finch.
Feeds on the ground on seeds. It will also take insects, especially when breeding. It usually feeds in groups or flocks of up to 40 birds.
Prefers dry grassy woodlands and scrublands, open forests and farmlands. It is never far from water.
Found in the Kimberley region through to west of the Gulf of Carpentaria (the western race annulosa), and then from Cape York down the east coast to south- eastern Victoria (the eastern race, bichenovii).
Nest is a rounded structure with a side entrance and short tunnel into an inner chamber. It is lined with fine grass, feathers and plant down.
It is placed between 1 - 5 meters from the ground in pandanus or thick shrubs, or even in the eaves of a building, often close to an active wasps' nest.
The female lays 3 - 6 eggs (4 - 5 most common). Both parents incubate the eggs.