White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera


There are two species in the genus Melanodera, and both are striking looking finches and relatively rare making them highly desirable finds for the birder. The current name of this species is nicely symmetrical with its relative the Yellow-bridled Finch (M. xanthogramma). It highlights that its black mask and black throat are bordered by white, the white bridle. Until recently this finch has been known as the Black-throated Finch and the Canary-winged Finch. The latter name is a good one, as the mainland population has nearly entirely yellow wings and is an absolute show-stopper when it flies up from the cold, windy grassy Patagonian steppe. The mainland population, princetoniana, shows these yellow wings while the nominate is restricted to the Falkland Islands and it has only limited yellow fringes to the wings. This uncommon and gorgeous looking finch needs old growth grassland and much of its former habitat has been seriously degraded by overgrazing by sheep. More work is needed to understand the specific habitat needs of the species. In the Falklands the population appears to be stable.

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Song (Fuegian)

© Andrew Spencer

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

White-bridled Finch (Melanodera melanodera), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/cawfin1