Beautiful Firetail

Did you know?

When breeding, Beautiful Firetails search for food in pairs. They scuttle around on the ground and are sometimes mistaken for mice as they rustle through the undergrowth.

A long sad floating whistle
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
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Breeding season: 
September to January
Clutch Size: 
4 to 8 eggs
20 days
Nestling Period: 
20 days
Conservation Status
Associated Plants
Plants associated with this species
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Beautiful Firetail is a small thick-set finch with an olive-brown body and a white breast with dark fine barring. The head has a black mask with pale blue eye ring and fairly thick, red bill. The rump is crimson. The legs and feet are pink-cream. The wings are short and rounded and the tail short and square-tipped. The juveniles are duller than the adults with a smaller eye patch and a blackish bill. They are also known as the Firetail Finch or Tasmanian Finch. They are usually seen in pairs or small family groups.

Similar species: 

The Beautiful Firetail is larger and more heavily built than the Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalis, and smaller than the Diamond FiretailS. guttata.

Where does it live?

Endemic to south-eastern Australia, the Beautiful Firetail ranges from Newcastle in New South Wales to Kangaroo Island in South Australia but is most common in Tasmania and off shore islands.


The Beautiful Firetail lives in swampy grassy spots in coastal belts of dry forest, shrubby heath, tea-tree scrub, casuarinas and never far from water.

Seasonal movements: 

Resident with some local movements.

What does it do?

The Beautiful Firetail eats mainly grass seeds and the seeds of the casuarinas and tea tree.


The nest of the Beautiful Firetail is shaped like a bottle on its side with a long tunnel leading to a round egg chamber. It is found in dense foliage near the ground. The nest is constructed of thin grass stems and lined with feathers. Both birds construct the nest, share the incubation of the eggs and care of the young.

Living with us

Along with the clearing of the scrub habitat to build human dwellings, and fragmentation of habitat, the domestic cat threatens this small bird.

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