Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Black-throated FinchMelanodera melanodera melanodera
Local Name: Sparrow
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands
Falklands Population: ~10,000 breeding pairs
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)
The Black-throated Finch is widespread around the Falklands, but generally prefers coastal regions. Only the male has the striking blue-grey head and black facial markings, the female being much drabber and not unlike a female House Sparrow. Nests are made from fine grass lined with down, and hidden amongst ground vegetation or in crevices. Three to four eggs are laid between September and December, and at least two broods per season are common. Finches are noted for their heavy bills designed for eating seeds, and the Black-throated Finch feeds on a wide variety, from grass seeds to berry seeds. The South American subspecies of Black-throated Finch has suffered serious population declines due to over-grazing, and is possibly extinct in Tierra del Fuego, making the Falklands subspecies vital.