Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Did you know?

Native Australian finches belong to the Family Passeridae, while the introduced 'true' finches (the Goldfinch and Greenfinch) belong to the Family Fringillidae.

Bell-like or drawn-out: 'teet'.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
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Breeding season: 
Spring and autumn in south; with rains in north
Clutch Size: 
4 to 6 eggs
13 days
Nestling Period: 
22 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is a thick-set brown finch with a grey crown, black face and a heavy grey bill. It has a chestnut brown breast divided from white underparts by a black bar. The rump and tail are golden orange, with a black undertail. Females are paler than males and young birds are uniformly olive-brown above, pale below with a brown-buff chest and no black face or chest bar. Like other finches, this species is a very social bird and is most often seen in flocks.


Similar species: 

The related Yellow-rumped Mannikin, L. flaviprymna, which lacks the black face and chest bar, can interbreed with the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and produce intermediate forms.

Where does it live?

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is found across northern and eastern coastal Australia, from the Kimberley region, Northern Territory, to the Shoalhaven River, New South Wales. It is also found in New Guinea.


The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is found in reed beds, long grasses, swamps and mangroves.

Seasonal movements: 

Locally nomadic, especially in the north. Can form flocks of several hundred birds.

What does it do?

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin feeds on grass seeds, usually on the stalk rather than from the ground. It will also eat winged termites at the beginning of breeding season.


The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin nests in colonies, with the nests close together in grass clumps, sugar cane or reeds, less than 2 m from the ground. The rounded nest is made from green or dried grass blades and is lined with fine grasses. It lacks an entrance tunnel but the entrance may have a hood. Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young, but only the female stays in the nest overnight.

Living with us

The Chestnut-breasted Mannikin may be an occasional pest of crops. Aviary escapees may also be found in areas outside its natural range.

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