Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Painted Finch (Emblema pictum)
Painted Finch

Painted Finch

Emblema pictum

The Painted Finch, Emblema pictum, is a diminutive and vibrant estrildid finch endemic to Australia. It is distinguished by its striking red and white spotted underparts, which have inspired its name. The males boast a vivid red forehead and face, contrasting sharply with their black breast, adorned with a central red patch. The sides of the breast, belly, and flanks are black with white spots, while the upper body and wings are a warm reddish-brown. The rump and uppertail coverts are predominantly red, becoming particularly noticeable during flight. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females displaying a more subdued red on the face and underparts.

Identification Tips

Males can be identified by their black upper mandible with a red tip and a lower mandible that is mostly red with light blue-grey patches at the base. Females have similar bill coloration but with less red on the upper mandible. Both sexes have cream or off-white irises and legs that range from dark brown to pinkish. Juveniles resemble females but lack the red facial coloration and have a black bill that lightens to pinkish on the lower part.


The Painted Finch favors arid and semi-arid zones, particularly rocky areas with a ground cover of spinifex grass.


This species is widespread across Western Australia, Northern Australia, Queensland, and South Australia. Notably, there have been recent expansions into western New South Wales, where a resident population is now thought to be established.


Painted Finches are typically seen in pairs or small flocks, though larger gatherings of up to 100 individuals may occur near water sources, often mingling with other finch species and honeyeaters. They are less vocal than other Australian grassfinches, but their calls are among the loudest and harshest of the group. Males may sing a loud wheezing and chattering song when alone, and females emit a rattling call in response to danger near the nest.

Song & Calls

The contact calls of the Painted Finch are described as trut, chek-chek, or ced up, cheddy-up. The male's song is a loud wheezing and chattering, while the female's alarm call is a rattling sound.


Painted Finches are monogamous and may breed at almost any time of year if conditions are favorable. Courtship often involves ground displays with twigs and a greeting display where the male sings to the female, raising its body feathers and pivoting its head. Nests are typically well-concealed in spinifex grass or natural cavities and are constructed from grass stems, twigs, or rootlets, lined with soft materials. Females lay 3 to 5 oval white eggs, which are incubated by both parents.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of grass seeds, particularly from spinifex species, and occasionally fruit and grass blades. They forage on the ground, adeptly hopping among rocks and grass tussocks to glean fallen seeds. While captive birds have been observed feeding on insects, this behavior has not been recorded in the wild.

Conservation status

The Painted Finch is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Painted Finches on Birda


More Waxbills, Munias & Allies

A photo of a Plum-headed Finch (Aidemosyne modesta) , male

Plum-headed Finch

Aidemosyne modesta
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Learning Birding with Birda
I’m relatively new to birding as a hobby, and Birda is a great way to keep track off all the species I see. I’m still working on my ID skills, but the app is great for figuring out potential species, and the online community is so friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend Birda to both early and serious birders! 🐦
Carl B
Helped me to identify more birds
Love this app and has helped me to identify more birds. The challenges and badges are great for keeping the motivation going to get out and keep birding.
Terrific App for Birders
Downloaded Birda around the time my interest in birding was sparked, and it has been a terrific app to help me (1) share my experience, (2) document my sightings, and (3) learn more about birds in general. That said, I also believe Birda is a fantastic app for birders of all experience levels. Great community!
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
Loving it
I really enjoy being able to interact with other birders on this platform! This seems like a great way to meet other birders and find some new spots.
Fantastic App
This is a really lovely app, for everyone interested in birds - from newbies to old hands. There is a very friendly feel to the community and you will genuinely learn a lot as you record your sightings and photos. There are lots of badges and competitions to keep you engaged, and a host of really useful features.
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Makes you want to spot birds more
I think this app is fun. It makes you want to spot birds more so I guess in a way it encourages you to get out and about instead of sitting in front of the TV.
Erna M
I really like Birda
I really like Birda. I also use other birding apps and have Birda with E-bird going at the same time.
Alice J
Awesome Birding Community
I absolutely love the community aspect of this app. The app is so user friendly and has fun interactive challenges to get you out birding. I’ve tried others but since I’ve started using Birda I’ve not gone back!
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.