Environment SA News

Rare Diamond Firetail sighting

Diamond Firetail finches are rarely seen on southern Yorke Peninsula, but several hundred were spotted recently near Foul Bay on the peninsula’s southern tip.

Rare Diamond Firetail sighting
Photo courtesy of Dave Curtis

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscape Officer Van Teubner and Graduate Ranger Beth Reid reported seeing two flocks of about 100 Diamond Firetails.

Listed as near-threatened nationally and vulnerable in South Australia, the bird’s numbers have been declining since at least the 1980s due to habitat clearance, loss of native food resources and feral cat predation.

These finches make dome-shaped nests with an entrance that protects their eggs from predators.

They're called firetails because of their brilliant red tails. If you ever disturb a flock on the ground, you’ll be treated to a beautiful display of flashing red colour.

The ‘diamonds’ are the white spots down their flanks. Every bird has a different pattern and if you look carefully you can tell them apart by their spots.

The recent sighting provides hope that fewer feral cats and improvements to bushland condition - thanks to the Great Southern Ark project - will mean people might see more of these small birds and other bird species that are listed as rare or threatened.

If you happen to see a Diamond Firetail finch, please let Natural Resources Northern and Yorke know. Try to get a photo and also record the location coordinates. You can do this with a GPS or by simply using your smartphone to drop a pin on Google Maps or another app.

You can email the photo and details to NRNY.DEW@sa.gov.au