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NATURAL HISTORY

MEDIUM TREE FINCH} Camarhynchus pauper
FAMILY: Emberizidae

DESCRIPTION: The medium tree finch is a chunky, wren-like finch. The male has a black head, grayish-brown upperparts, and whitish or yellowish underparts. The female has a grayish-brown head.

HABITAT: This bird dwells in moist highland forest habitat in montane evergreen and tropical deciduous forests.

RANGE: The medium tree finch is found only on Floreana Island at elevations above 250 meters. It is restricted to highly fragmented forest patches in an area estimated to be 23 square kilometers.

MIGRATION: This bird is nonmigratory.

BREEDING: The medium tree finch’s breeding season is February through April. The finch has a clutch size of two to four eggs and likes to nest in the Scalesia peduculata, a large tree.

LIFE CYCLE: Finches can live 15 to 20 years, but the more common lifespan is probably five to 10.

FEEDING: This finch spends most of its time foraging above ground, looking for insect larvae — its favorite prey. It also feeds on nectar, buds, and leaves.

THREATS: The greatest threats to the medium tree finch are the parasite Philornis downsi; the bird’s small, restricted range; habitat loss due to agriculture; and introduced rats, mice, cats, and smooth-billed ani.

POPULATION TREND: This bird’s population is declining. Currently, only approximately 860 to 1,220 individuals survive.

Photo © Kristian Stahl