Size: Very Small Personality: Outgoing, Social Lifespan: 5-10-years Care & Maintenance: Easy, Low
Common Species

Zebra Finches, Society Finches, Gouldian Finch, Chloeba gouldiae, Cordon Blue (also known as Red-cheeked cordon bleu) Uraeginthus bengalus, Owl (Bicheno) Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii, Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora

Origin/Habitat

Most of the common species found in the pet industry originate in many parts of the world to include Africa, Australia and Indonesia. Finches frequently live in communities near good food and water sources.

Exploring the Colorful World of These Charming Birds

Finches are very small, colorful birds that are found in a wide range of habitats across the world. Finches are known for their melodious and complex songs. They are highly vocal birds and their songs are used for communication and attracting mates. Different species of finches have different song patterns and melodies. In the wild, finches exhibit a diverse range of behaviors, from elaborate courtship rituals to intricate nest-building techniques. They play a crucial role in their ecosystems, helping to pollinate plants and disperse seeds.

In captivity, finches make popular pets due to their sociable nature and low maintenance requirements. They are small, easy to care for, and get along well in pairs or small groups. Most Finch species prefer a same species companion but will live peacefully with other species in a large aviary setting. With their beautiful colors and patterns, they add a lovely touch to any home. Perfect for apartment living or tight spaces, finches are peaceful and friendly companions. With proper care, they can provide companionship and entertainment for many years.

The most common finch species include Zebra Finches, Society Finches, Gouldian Finches, Cordon Bleu Finches, Owl Finches plus many more. Finches have been kept as pets for many years and some Finch Fanciers have developed unique mutations with selective breeding. Most species of finches live an average of 10 years, but it’s not unusual for finches to live longer with optimal care and diet.

Breeding finches can also be a rewarding experience, as you get to witness their natural behaviors and the nurturing care they provide to their young. Whether admired in the wild or kept as pets, finches bring joy and beauty to those who observe them, with their colorful feathers and lively nature.

Health Booklet

Keeping track of bird health by recording their growth, development, behavior and environment in a booklet can help ensure that your companion parrot will be healthy and happy for many years to come.

Physical Description

Finches, as a generality, are extra small – with a body length between 7.5-12.7cm (3-5 inches). A finches beak is a compact, conical-shaped that is well-suited for cracking open seeds. They typically have a rounded body shape, short legs, and strong claws for perching on branches. Their plumage can vary greatly depending on the species, but they often have bright and colorful feathers, with some species exhibiting distinctive markings or patterns. Overall, finches are known for their agile and acrobatic flying abilities.

Owl Finches obtain their name because their faces look like an owl.
Gouldian Finches are considered one of the most colorful finch species.

Sex

Many finch species are dimorphic once they reach adult feather with males being more vibrant compared to females.

Personality Traits & Behaviours

Finches are active and very social with each other. Instinctually, they will flock together to establish community.

Noise Level/Speech/Song

Finches are known for their ability to mimic a wide variety of sounds. They have a vocal range that enables them to imitate different pitches and tones. Many species have a melodious song or chirp, but some species, such as the zebra have a chirpy “peep peep” sound.

Intelligence & Learning

Finches are known for being independent and are not easily trained or handled. They are better suited for observation rather than physical interaction. Although there can be exceptions for hand-reared finches, it requires a significant amount of time and effort. While they may not be the most cuddly pets, they enjoy exploring in a bird-safe environment.

Threats/Conservation

Throughout the world, many wild finches face challenges due to environmental issues. Australian finch species, namely the Gouldian Finch, are declining in numbers due destruction of their main food and nesting area by wildfires.

Relationship with Humans

Regardless of the species, finches love to forage and engage with each other as opposed to being a “hands on” pet bird.

Care

Housing/Cage Placement

The general rule of thumb when buying a bird cage is to buy the largest cage you can afford. For optimum health and safety, the cage should be large enough to allow for flight. Cage bar spacing should be less than ½ inch (1.27 cm) so that your bird could not stick his head through, and his tail feathers should not be able to touch the bars when he is perched comfortably.  A rectangular cage that offers horizontal space for flying as opposed to height is recommended.  Finches, especially in a mixed species collection, thrive well in a planted aviary setting. Be sure to monitor compatibility and provide extra perches and feeding stations. Plants must be considered safe and easy to maintain. As an alternative to live plants, reptile safe Jungle vines or artificial plants can be provided for maintenance-free security for your birds plus provide additional perches.  

Your finches will be happiest in a well-ventilated room with as much natural light as possible, yet away from direct sunlight and drafts. Avoid placing your bird’s cage in the kitchen as there are many hazards including vapors from heated PTFE coated pans (PTFE is better known as Teflon), hot stoves, pots of boiling water, and cooking fumes all of which can be very harmful to your bird. The cage and accessories should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected weekly. Always provide your bird with clean water and food dishes daily.

Make sure your finches do not have access to open doors or windows, toilets with the lid up, hot stoves, moving ceiling fans or large panes of glass. It’s also a good idea to ensure he does not chew on or ingest anything unsafe such as treated or painted wood or unsafe house plants. Do not keep your bird in a room where sprays such as perfume, hair spray, air fresheners or aerosol sprays are used frequently.

We highly recommend you do not leave your finch unattended around other pets such as dogs, cats, or ferrets.

Diet/Nutrition

Finches are predominantly seed eaters, but can be fed a high quality extruded formulated morsel such as Tropican Egg Granule. Our philosophy is to provide finches a high-quality extruded diet such as Tropican Egg Granule as the base diet and to supplement with other healthy enrichment foods to provide variety. Just like people, finches love a bit of variety. While a pelleted bird food can make up a large part of the diet, Gourmet Premium Seed Blend for Finches, HARI Spray Millet, and mixtures of dried fruits, vegetables, and enrichment diet such as Tropimix Egg Food are also important for the variety and nutritional benefits they provide. Finches should also be offered a source of calcium with either Prime Vitamins sprinkled on moistened food or HARI Mineral Blocks. Sensible, healthy table foods such as hard-boiled eggs or multi-grain toast can be given in small amounts as treats. Some species of finches enjoy a few mealworms for extra protein. Be sure not to feed your canary any unhealthy people foods. Foods such as chocolate, salty foods, and those containing caffeine and alcohol are all unsafe for birds. And always provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.

Sleep

Many bird owners will cover the bird cage at night to help block out extra light and to provide a setting of security. A cover can also keep the cage warmer (for those living in colder climates).

HARI recommends that a bird’s night or sleep cage be equipped with a comfortable perch placed in the highest level possible to offer security and to keep the bird’s feet healthy.  If a bird suffers from night terrors or a cage cover is not used, we recommend an infrared basking light or small night light in the room. Finches require 9-10 of uninterrupted sleep for health.

Perches

Improperly sized or dirty perches contribute to Pododermatitis or Bumblefoot. Offer your bird at least three types of perches appropriately sized for his feet: cotton or sisal rope; natural wood perches – with a variety of diameter. Make sure the perches are the right size for your bird’s feet. You should add natural branches to the cage to supplement the standard perches. Fresh branches are great for perching and chewing – try willow, alder, ash, birch, or apple. Just remove the leaves and replace every 4-6 weeks.

Keep perches clean and if you use cotton or sisal rope, check often for signs of loose strands. Often perches will need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear.  If a grooming perch is utilized, please avoid placing this perch at the highest level of the cage nor place it near food and water stations.

Toys

Toys should be selected based on enrichment value and durability and be size appropriate. The toys should be rotated with new ones every week or two to prevent boredom. If you’re unsure about which toys are appropriate, be sure to check the HARI Smart Play and HARI Active Play toys for purpose and size of bird recommendation.

Training/Socialization

Most finches prefer their own species as opposed to human interaction. There have been some finches that, despite their timid nature, will accept perching on an owner’s hand.

Bathing

Daily bathing is essential to the health of your bird. Bathing moisturizes nasal passages and feet and keeps your birds’ feathers and skin in excellent shape. Finches will often bathe on their own if opportunity is available. After bathing, finches will often “fluff” to straighten out their feathers-and this can be a sign of comfort.  If your bird is reluctant to bathe on his own, you can use a spray bottle with warm water to gently mist him. Be sure to remove seeds or pellets from the cage before misting as damp food can grow mold and bacteria. Always bathe your bird early in the day and let him dry naturally in a draft free area.

Feather/Nail Care

While trimming a finch’s flight feathers is a matter of personal choice, and rarely done, your bird’s toenails will need to be inspected and groomed on a regular basis. We recommend that you have someone experienced trim your bird’s nails to avoid cutting the quick. Never take your bird outside without a secure cage.

Household Dangers

It is important to provide finches with a safe environment to ensure the longest lifespan. The following is a list of common household dangers: Non-stick surfaces, oven cleaner and self-cleaning ovens, cigarette Smoke, paint and paint fumes, scented candles, household cleaners, floor polish, hairspray, chlorine bleach, perfume, aerosol sprays, nail polish and nail polish remover fumes and ingesting harmful or toxic house plants.  It’s important to make sure everyone in the household is aware of food and other products in the home that are potentially toxic to canaries, such as avocados, chocolate, coffee beans, onions, salt, and fruit seeds or pits. Ceiling fans, cupboards, blinds, and open doors and windows can also pose a risk as your pet may fly into, get trapped or simply fly away.

Vet Care

Birds often hide signs of illness so take note of any subtle changes in your bird’s health or behaviour. Finches should see a veterinarian once a year for a thorough evaluation and preventive health care plan. Some vets treat birds and/or exotic pet species exclusively (avian vet / exotic vet). There are some clinics that can perform routine bird appointments but will refer you to a certified avian veterinarian for more involved cases. An avian veterinarian is a valuable resource for advice concerning appropriate health care for your bird.

Availability in the Pet Market

Most finches can be purchased from an avian specialty shop or pet dealer, as well from a reputable breeder. Online rescues, adoption organizations are also an option.

Society finches are great parents and will often care for another similar in age chick of another species.

Aviculture

Breeding Habits

Many species of finches will breed between 9 and 12 months provided the nutritional requirements and nest set up is optimal. The parents will work together to build a nest so nesting material such as coconut fiber and a nest might be suggested. In mixed aviary setting, be sure to offer ample room for each pair’s nesting area as they will compete for optimum nest site and food.  On average, finch species will lay 3-8 eggs and incubate the eggs for 12-16 days. Eggs are incubated 13-14 days with fledglings leaving the nest after 20-25 days. Often, parents will continue to feed the fledglings for a few months.

Most aviculturists that cater to the pet bird trade prefer to have the parent birds raise the babies until they are fledged. Breeding finches should be in optimal health and require proper nutrition to meet the needs of the “expectant” parents and the nestlings. Tropican Egg Granules and Tropimix Egg Food are excellent choices as well as vegetables and fruits high in beta carotenes to meet the nutritional needs of breeding birds.  Adding Prime Vitamins to the diet is also beneficial for breeding pairs on a predominate seed-based diet.

Hatchling to Fledgling

Most aviculturists that cater to the pet bird trade prefer to have the parent birds raise the babies for about 2-3 weeks before removing them for hand feeding. Breeding parrots should be in optimal health and require proper nutrition to meet the needs of the “expectant” parents and the nestlings. Tropican Lifetime 2mm is an excellent choice as well as vegetables and fruits high in beta carotenes to meet the nutritional needs of breeding lories and lorikeets. Adding Prime Vitamins to the diet is also beneficial for breeding pairs on a predominate nectar-based diet.