Mystery Bird: Double-barred Finch, Taeniopygia bichenovii

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[Mystery bird] Double-barred (Owl) Finch, Taeniopygia bichenovii, also known as the Bicheno, photographed at Grafton, Australia. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Steve Duncan, 15 August 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200 w/ Nikkor 300mm f/4 1/2000 sec, f/4, iso 200.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

The photographer writes;

Double-barred Finches, aka Owl Finches or Bichenos, are frequently observed in small flocks of 15-25 birds moving through suburban yards in Australia. These charming little birds are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders, sometimes in association with their relatives, the Zebra Finches. They tend to be more common around developed areas than they are out in the native bushland. The Double-barred Finches travel between cover in a short parade of fluttering, beeping processions. I often hear their beeping calls before I see them.

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It is an owl finch. I know because I use to raise these little birds in my avairy.
The face of the bird gives it away because he does look like an owl.

By Cecy duBonsky (not verified) on 06 Sep 2009 #permalink

It's an Estrildid Finch, Double-barred Finch, Poephila bichenovii, the white face and two black bars are diagnostic.

A Double-bar Finch to Australians and Owl Finch for North Americans. A flock of around 100 lives nearby to my home in southeast Queensland so I see them frequently in the wild.

Isn't this the smallest bird in Australia? They are delightful in small flocks.

I rather suspect that the difference in names has more to do with keeping birds versus watching them. I know there are quite a few finch species that have different names in the pet stores than in the field guides.