"Most beautiful bird in the world" flies into Queensland Museum

Queensland’s rare birds on display to celebrate Brisbane Festival.

One of Queensland’s rarest and spectacularly coloured birds will fly into Queensland Museum this month to celebrate Brisbane Festival 2020.

From 4-26 September visitors will be able to take in the vibrancy and dazzling charm of 20 beautiful finches, including Gouldian finches, as they fly about in a specially designed aviary on Level 1 of the museum.

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said the aviary of finches provided an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Queensland’s birds and the challenges they face. 

“Measuring only 13cm, this is a great way to see these stunning birds up close with their rainbow of colours and calming influence, and we’d like to thank the Queensland Finch Society for helping us bring this unique experience to Queensland Museum,” Dr Thompson said.  

“The Gouldian finches on display remain the most abundant finch in Australian aviaries, but their wild population has declined over the years and they are now classified as endangered, so this provides an opportunity to highlight their dwindling numbers in the wild, to visitors.

“The museum will also be hosting a number of conservation talks about finches during September so visitors can learn more about these incredible birds.”

Visitors will also be able to gain an insight into how the finch claimed “the most beautiful bird in the world” title, with a rare look at ornithologist John Gould’s The Birds of Australia from Queensland Museum’s rare book collection.

This extraordinary book, dating back to the mid-1800s, will be on display beside the aviary, and showcases some of the first sketches and descriptions of the Gouldian finch and explains why Gould decided to name this stunning bird in honour of his wife Lady Elizabeth Gould. 

Along with live finches, a 183cm Gouldian finch will be perched atop Queensland Museum, designed to spread messages of hope during challenging times, as part of Brisbane Festival’s Messengers of Brisbane event.  

Created by internationally renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofmanand and brought to life by Brisbane’s Urban Art Projects, the bird design was influenced by Queensland Museum scientists who gave advice regarding their colour, size and authenticity of the birds. 

Due to COVID-19, bookings are essential to visit the museum. Click here to book your free timed ticket.