The Zebra Finch

The Zebra Finch

Are you interested in a small bird? A bird with lovely colors? A bird that has a beautiful song and a lovely chirp? Are you not overly interested in having a hand-tame bird? Then the Zebra Finch could be the perfect bird for you. They are small, so their cage doesn’t need to be extremely large (but it does need to be large enough to allow for the bird to fly to get exercise). They are fairly inexpensive because of how easily they breed in captivity. And they aren’t extremely loud. They do chirp and beep a good portion of the day, and the males do tend to belt out a gorgeous tune when they feel happy, but this is actually very lovely background noise for many people. Zebra Finches are a very popular small bird here in the United States, as well as in many other countries around the world.

Zebra Finches originated in Australia. They can be found in the wind in Indonesia as well. They are hardy and adaptable, living in almost any environmental conditions except the very cold south of Australia and the rather hot areas on the uppermost north of Australia. They thrive in brush, forests, and grasslands. They tend to live close to a water source. Their diet consists mainly of seeds. They have dealt with human use of their habitat well because of their adaptability. They can and do nest in many different areas, such as in trees, on the ground, in bushes, in termite mounds, and on man-made structures. They are small, reaching a size of about 4 inches and only weigh about an ounce.

Related Post: 7 Best Finch Feeders for Bird Lovers to Buy

This bird is dubbed a “zebra” because of the distinctive black stripes found on the neck and upper chest area of the male. The head, neck, back, and wings are gray. The chest, leg feathers, and rump is a white-cream color. Along the wing line on the side of the bird is a patch of brownish-red with white dots. The cheek is adorned with a round orange patch. A black line falls from the eye down to the end of the cheek. A white patch runs along the beak and the black eye line. A thick band of black stretches across the chest. The beak is a bright red, the feet are orange, and the eyes are black. The female is less colorful. She is mostly gray. She lacks the zebra stripes, the cheek patch, the black band on the chest. Her belly, legs, and rump are cream colored. Her eyes and feet are the same as the male, but her beak is lighter and more orange.

Many many years of captivity has given rise to many many different color mutations for this bird. Breeders have played around with mutations and produced some very fun color variations. Some include: albino, fawn, light back, black breasted, penguin, pied, as well as many others. The most popular color remains the original wild coloring.

These birds are not considered trainable. Some owners do hand train them, but it is difficult as they are fairly skittish birds. It takes many months of patience to get a Zebra finch to trust you. And potentially many more months before it will take that leap of faith and actually perch on your hand. But I can’t say it isn’t possible, because there are bird owners out there that have accomplished it.

In captivity the finch diet consists mainly of a nice balanced seed mixture. Lots of yummy leafy greens and other treats are needed as well for optimum health. Add a cuddlebone and some grit to the cage as well. Provide fresh water daily and a nice big shallow bowl full of water a couple times a week so your bird can splash around and bathe.

Common Diseases and Ailments (Zebra finches are considered hardy birds):

scaly legs
heat stroke

Strawberry Finch

Strawberry Finch

The Strawberry Finch is called many things, including Red Avadavat, Tiger Finch, and Strawberry waxbill. The Scientific name is Amandava Amandava. The name that fits best with the birds appearance is certainly Strawberry Finch. It really does look like a little strawberry. Well, the adult male does anyway. Originating from Asia, this cute little bird is teeny tiny.

Like most finches, this finch is about 3-4 inches in length. The male, in full mating plumage, is a mixture of brown and deep rich red. The red covers the chest, belly, throat, parts of the head, and the backside. The tail and parts of the wing are black and covering most of the bird are dozens of little white dots, giving the bird its distinctive strawberry look. The female is a light brown color with a few white dots on her body. The chest and belly are colored a creamy yellowish orange color. Both the male and female have shiny red bills and flesh colored legs. Their beautiful plumage and their pretty song are what makes them a very sought after bird. The song can be described as flute like.

Related: 7 Best Finch Feeders for Bird Lovers to Buy

These birds tend to have problems with their nails becoming too long. This is fixed by simply trimming their nails regularly and by having a rough textured branch or two in their cage to help file their nails a bit.

In the wild, they live in open spaces. Places like grasslands, open woodland, fields of various sorts and open brush. The places are generally nice and warm. For this reason, the bird does best in a nice warm habitat in captivity. If they don’t get adequate sunshine and warmth, the male, especially, will show this in his feathering. He will not be bright red and beautiful, but rather dull and some males will actually turn a somber black color.

Finch favorite foods in the wild are things like flies, pupae, meal worms, and seeds. You can purchase small meal worms and sometimes you can even buy flies at pet stores as little treats for your bird. But a diet of nutritious finch seed and a small pellet will ensure you have a healthy bird. Remember to add in some fresh fruits and veggies as snacks. Spinach is a favorite of this little bird. Grit with charcoal and a cuttlebone are essentials for this type of bird as well. Always keep in mind to give fresh clean water daily. In addition to the daily drinking water, a nice bowl of water set in the bottom of the cage for a few hours once or twice a week is a really fun idea for this type of bird as well because they tend to love splashing around in the water.

Being a small skittish bird, they are not generally thought of as trainable. They are owned as pets mainly for their beauty and song. They tend to be a bit more expensive than other types of finches.

Cage size: You want a cage that is big enough for your bird or birds to fly around and get plenty of exercise. These birds do well in groups. They generally get along well with other similarly sized birds. The only exception is with multiple males in breeding season. Males tend to become aggressive and fight (sometimes females will also become aggressive during mating season).

Common Diseases and problems:

Ingrown feathers
Heat stroke
Egg binding
Colds (viruses)