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Australian Finch

Australian finches are very engaging little birds which can provide many hours of enjoyment. In general they are very adaptable and live well in groups. This article is intended to cover the basic species of Australian Finches and does not cover the popular Zebra Finch or Bengalese Finch which have separate articles.  In recent years many mutations have been appearing.

Many of the Australian Finch species have sexes that look alike and sexing is extremely difficult.  Australian finches will quite readily nest in an open flight, nest boxes, hollow logs etc.

In the Wild

Australian finches will usually lay between 4 - 7 eggs per clutch, and will lay on consecutive days. Incubation normally begins in earnest, after the 3rd egg and will last from 13 - 15 days.  Many Australian finch chicks have marks or spots in their mouths, and small coloured patches on the sides of their beak. This is to help the parent identify their chicks in the gloomy light of the nest.  It also aids the parents in ensuring they feed the chicks correctly.  Different species have different "gape-marks".

The young will normally leave the nest when they are 20 -22 days old. Sexing the young birds in most species is a problem but experience will soon prevail.  Once the young birds have been out of the nest for 3 weeks, they should show signs of weaning and start feeding on their own.  Some cock birds become increasingly aggressive towards their own offspring, and constantly harass the young birds to leave the area.

Diet

Seed must be fresh and of a good quality and should be dust free.  Millet in different forms provides the staple diet of Australian Finches; pannicum millet, white millet, japanese millet and red millet; they also feed on canary seed, grass seeds, hemp, paddy rice etc.

A recommended mixture should consist of:

1 part Plain Canary Seed
1 part Japanese millet
1 part Yellow Pannicum
1 part White Millet

The mixture should be provided in large shallow dishes, care should be taken daily to blow the seed husks from the dishes.

Millet sprays and soft food can be offered daily.  Soak seeds and greenfood such as chickweed, seeding grass and apple, pear and oranges can also be offered.

Grit and cuttlefish should be available at all times.  Mealworms, Buffalo Worms, Fruit Flies, and other forms of small livefood can also be offered.  Crushed charcoal and baked eggshells (that have been crushed also prove to be very popular.

Fruits and vegetables will also be taken by most types of finches, for example:- Paw-Paw, Figs and small quantities of ripe Banana.

Fresh drinking water and bathing facilities should be available all year round.  All types of finch like to bathe, even in the middle of winter, with snow on the ground.

Natural branches from trees such as apple, pear, willow etc are the best type of perches and should be changed regularly Perching should be plentiful.  Australian finches should be checked regularly, to ensure that they are in good health.  If any caged birds are found huddled in the corner of the aviary or cage, they should be immediately caught and placed in a suitable hospital cage for treatment.

Overgrown claws is quite common in all species of finches.  Claws should be checked regularly and clipped when necessary.  Overgrown claws can cause birds to be entangled in wire netting or foliage.

Goldian finches should be checked regularly for air-sac mite. a small "vapona" pest strip should be placed near to where the bird roosts, and should help to rid the bird of the mites.

When siting your aviary or cages, care should be taken that birds are not disturbed at night.  Night frights, cause the birds to leave their perch and fly straight into the wire/cage.  Many birds simply break their necks when such incidents occur.  Ensure that no Garden Lights (including the neighbours garden lights) shine anywhere near to the aviaries.

Some Common Species of Finches

Chestnut-breasted Finch

Lonchura castaneothorax

Cherry Finch

Aidemosyne modesta

Bicheno

Poephila bichenovii

Long-tailed Grassfinch

Poephila acuticauda

Parson's Finch

Poephila cinta

Masked Grassfinch

Poephila Personata

Gouldian Finch

Erythrura gouldiae

Star Finch

Neochmia ruficauda

Diamond Sparrow

Emblema guttata

Pictorella Finch

Lonchura pectoralis

Painted Finch

Emblema picta

Plumheaded Finch

Aidemosyne modesta

Yellow-Rumped

Lonchura flavipyramna

Blue-faced Parrot Finch

Erythrura thricroa

Crimson Finch

Neochmia Phaeton

Red-browed Finches

Aegintha temporalis

 

 


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