Gouldian Finch

General Info:

The Gouldian Finch, also known as the rainbow finch, is the most colorful of all the different types of finches. There are three natural color mutations of the Gouldian Finch: red-headed, yellow-headed, and black-headed. The black headed Gouldian finch is the dominant of all strains and the most abundant in the wild. The main color mutation is the head color. The rest of the colors are fairly uniform on this bird. There is an outline of black around the head color. Then a band of light blue follows along the black outline of the neck. The breast is purple and the belly is yellow. The belly color recedes to white as it reaches the legs and under the tail feathers. A blue-green extends from the neck down to the back. The top feathers of the tail are blue. These colors are the same for females, except the colors on a female are much more muted and dull. The beak of a mature male is white with a tip that matches the color of the head. The females, at breeding age, have a black beak. About 5 inches long & weigh about half an ounce

The juvenile Gouldian Finch is a much different color than the adult. They are almost indistinguishable. Their feathers consist of a mix of grey and olive green. Around 6-8 weeks of age, the birds usually begin the rather long process of molting into their gorgeous adult plumage.

This bird was named by John Gould while exploring Australia. He chose to name this colorful little bird after his beloved wife. This bird is well sought after, as it is very beautiful and was heavily exported from Australia before 1959. After 1959, the export of this bird was banned. The wild populations are endangered, with estimates of the numbers being only about 2500 individuals. Destruction of habitat seems to be the largest threat. In captivity, however, the numbers are very stable. This bird has continued to be popular for many years.

The breeding of the Gouldian Finch is a bit tougher than the more hardy finches, such as the Zebra finch or Society finch. For this reason, and because of it’s stunning color, this finch is often one of the more expensive types of finch. Taking into consideration the cost, this bird isn’t recommended for beginning bird owners. This bird is also more fragile in terms of survival. A skilled finch owner is more likely to have success keeping the Gouldian Finch.


Training a finch to perch on your finger is very difficult and requires a tremendous amount of patient and hours upon hours of training time. Many people are not able to train their bird to enjoy physical contact. It helps to own a bird that was hand-reared as a chick. I wouldn’t recommend this bird to someone that has their heart set on being able to hold their bird. Though it is possible to gain their trust, it is difficult and these birds just aren’t nearly as loving as most hook billed birds are. However, if you are familiar with how to care for finches and want a colorful little beauty to look at and talk to, this is your bird. As stated before, a more experienced finch owner is preferred, as these finches are less easy to care for than some other types.

The male Gouldian finch has a beautiful song and if he is a happy bird, he will belt out gorgeous tunes for you to listen to as you read or wash the dishes.


The lifespan of the bird is anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on how well it is cared for.

Dietary Needs:

Gouldians can be quite picky eaters. A good quality seed is essential. Fresh veggies and fruits are also very highly recommended. Cooked sweet potatoes, carrots, fresh spinach, and apples are all great foods that are packed with nutrients. If your bird is picky, a vitamin supplement can be purchased to ensure your bird does not become ill.

Gouldians require grit in their diet as well. In the wild, these birds will peck at the dirt, picking up tiny bits of sand to ingest, aiding in the digestion of their seed. Grit can be purchased at any pet store that sells small birds.

Be sure to hang a cuddle-bone in the cage. This supplement is most often white and rather long and flat. Small birds chew on the cuddle-bone to obtain supplemental calcium

Common Diseases and ailments:

  • Air sac mites (This may be what wiped out much of the population in the wild)
  • Red mites
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Egg-binding

Cage Size:

We would suggest a cage as large as you can afford and house. The cage must hava a maxium bar spacing of 1/2 inch