Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda are small finches that are very well camouflaged and to add to the challenge they like to hide in reeds, spikey green bushes and are a real challenge to photograph. They also have a shriller note than other finches and although I can pick it up others cannot always do so. They are present in the north of Australia, but interestingly there is a gap on the map right over Broome! We either have to travel north or south to observe them. Last year we saw a nice flock at Parry’s Lagoon Nature Reserve and they would all come down to the water together to drink.

On the few occasions we were able to go birding whilst Grant worked in Karratha this year we did search out the Star Finch at the Maitland River. Once again they attempted to trick us by getting into dense bushes and in the reed beds, but with their bright red heads they were not quite hidden. They did choose the bushes with the biggest spikes, though! I would like better photographs, but this is my attempt at the Maitland River.

Star Finch (3)

Star Finch (4)

Star Finch (5)

Star Finch at the Maitland River

For a brief moment three of the Star Finch flew from the spikes to the dry riverbed and gave me a brief opportunity to take a photograph, but they were quick and nervous. There are plenty of raptors in the area and of course they were not taking any risks.

Star Finch (2)

Three Star Finch

If you doubt the spikes I am referring to then do not fear! I photographed them as well! They are impressive and you would not want to be walking through this patch of bush in the dark without light!


Spikes in bushes protect Star Finch from predators

We have had nice low tides again in Broome and we don’t have Star Finch here, but we do have the most amazing Star Fish here. I have decided that they are definitely a lot easier to photograph and until I get a better picture of a Star Finch I will try and satisfy the readers with Star Fish. They definitely don’t move as fast!

Star Fish

Star Fish (2)

Star Fish (3)

Star Fish on Broome’s reef at low tide

Star Finch are another bird species which is in aviaries, but despite the frustration of not being able to get good photographs due to spikes I would much rather see them in the wild any day.




Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!