Bird life with Tony Wellington
These delightful little finches are most often seen in small flocks, usually in tall grass. They feed on grass seeds. Where the more common Double-barred Finches prefer to peck seeds from the ground, Mannikins climb the grass stems to take their meal from seed heads.
In my observations over the past couple of decades, Chestnut-breasted Mannikins have
decreased in number across the hinterland. Why this is, I’m not sure. It might have to do
with predators such as cats, or maybe the use of chemical sprays?
Certainly, their nesting behaviour makes them vulnerable, as they nest communally amongst grass or reeds, just a metre or so from the ground. The days of sugar production provided plenty of breeding habitat for these little birds, so perhaps the disappearance of cane fields is also implicated in their decline?
These are charming, gregarious, busy little birds that startle easily.
Tony has worked as a filmmaker, artist, author, photographer and media lecturer. He has also been a Councilor on both the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Councils, as well as Mayor of Noosa.