Bengalese Finches are not to be found in the wild. Their origins of this delightful little finch has caused much debate, argument and speculation over the years. The Bengalese is a domesticated cage bird, and is a very sociable bird in its habits. Many theories have been discussed, including that they are a fertile hybrid and have such ancestors as Spice Birds, Silverbills and other such Munias. It is now generally accepted that the Bengalese is a domesticated version of the White Rumped Mannikin. Which, when looked at closely, almost looks like a Self Chocolate Bengalese.
The species itself was developed over a period of at least two hundred years by Oriental aviculturists who were very skilled in their breeding achievements.
Bengalese Finches have been established in the UK for many decades and have proved to be quite hardy.¬† Sexing these birds can be difficult as there is no obvious difference between the cock and hen. ¬†On careful observation you will notice that cock birds sing frequently, elongating themselves to their full height, at the same time fluffing out their lower body feathers and tail feathers. When displaying in such a manner, if he finds a hen bird, the cock will bounce along the perch approaching the hen.
Unfortunately, even the cock birds sometimes get it wrong. Quite often cock birds will dance their full display and discover that the bird they are performing to is in fact another adult or an immature cock bird.
The recommended basic diet for Bengalese Finches is a good quality finch mixture. Mineralised grit, cuttle fish and water should be available at all times. They will also enjoy smaller quantities of white millet, pannicum millet, japanese millet, plain canary seed, niger etc. They are fond of many types of seasonal greenfood such as "chickweed", "dandelion", "groundsel", "Sow Thistle", Chicory and seeding grasses. Millet sprays can be offered regularly, and are extremely useful when chicks are in the nest. Apple, cabbage and spinach can be offered in the breeding season.
Softfood can be added to the daily diet regularly. Branded eggfoods such as EMP or CEDE can simply be mixed with water and/or grated carrots and fed to the birds. Other brands come ready mixed in tubs and can be simply spooned into feeding dishes.
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.
Bengalese Finches can also suffer from "scaly face" on the beak or legs. The mite feeds on the outer layers of the birds skin usually in areas around the beak and legs. It will burrow into the skin forming a scale like layer which must be treated with a proper cream. This is available from most good pet centres or from a local veterinary surgery.
When siting your aviary or cages, care should be taken that birds are not disturbed at night. Night frights can cause the birds to leave their perch and fly straight into the cage or wire. Many birds simply break their necks when such incidents occur. Ensure that no garden lights (including the neighbours garden lights) shine any where near to the aviaries.
There are many colour mutations of Bengalese Finches:
Chocolate and White
Fawn and White
Dilute Chocolate and White
Dilute Fawn and White