Bird Species Profile: Zebra Finch (Chestnut-Eared Finch)

 There are many species of finches, but the zebra finch is one of the most beloved pets. This species is resilient and comparatively simple to maintain. It is a fantastic option for a beginner bird owner. Zebra finches are typically kept in couples and amuse themselves by spending little time with their owners. If you don't have much free time to devote to your pet bird, this species is a good option. Few finches are easier to maintain than zebra finches, even though some are more colorful.

Bird Species Profile: Zebra Finch (Chestnut-Eared Finch)
Bird Species Profile: Zebra Finch (Chestnut-Eared Finch)

Species Overview

- USUAL NAME: "nyi-nyi" and "nyeen-ka," as well as the zebra finch, chestnut-eared finch, spotted-sided finch, and Australian Aboriginal names.


- SCIENTIFIC NAME: Poephla guttata.

- ADULT SIZE: One of the smaller finches, though not the tiniest, measures 4 inches in length.

- PERIOD OF LIFE: 3 to 15 years, but typically 3 to 5 years.

Origin and history

Zebra finches live in large flocks in their natural habitat in arid areas of central Australia, Indonesia, and East Timor. The zebra finch was introduced to Costa Rica and Portugal, where feral flocks now exist. A variety of grasslands and woodlands, especially near water, make up its preferred habitat.


Zebra finches are lively, entertaining small birds to watch. The zebra finch, despite being little, needs a big cage to fly.

Being gregarious creatures, finches should always be kept in pairs. A male and female pair will normally procreate pretty quickly, so you may consider keeping only females. Others advise keeping them in groups of at least six or in pairs. A larger cage, such as an aviary or flight cage, is required if you keep more than one pair of birds.

Zebra finches do not form close relationships with people, despite being social with each other. They are not fond of handling but can become tame. You can train it to come to your hand by training them a lot.

The bird makes mild chirps and beeps that are acceptable as vocalizations. This species ought to be suited for living in an apartment or condo.

Speech and Vocalizations

Every finch has a different whistle and call. The zebra finch sings in a low, trilling, chatty tone. Young chicks are typically taught to sing by their father birds. They improvise with tiny trills and whistles to make the song their own once he teaches it to them. Their improvisations frequently resemble things they have heard outside. Some finch owners will sing to or play music for their pets.

Zebra Finch Colors and Markings

The zebra finch is a charming bird. They are dimorphic, making it possible to distinguish between the sexes just by looking at them. Males have brown on the sides of the body, orange spots on the cheeks, and black and white banding on the throat and chest. In these locations, the females are gray in hue. The beaks of males and females are both orange-red, yet the male's beak is noticeably brighter. There are numerous color variations possible in zebra finches raised in captivity.

Zebra Finch's care

A long but short cage is suitable for housing zebra finches since having space to fly horizontally is more important than cage height. The largest cage you can find is an excellent idea. 30 inches long, 18 inches high, and 18 inches wide make a nice size for a pair of finches. You will require an aviary or flight cage if you intend to keep a larger flock of birds. Wires should be spaced 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart.

A variety of perches should be available, but the cage shouldn't be too crowded for the finches to fly back and forth. For perches, you can add natural branches or use pegs of various sizes. You can even angle the branches for diversity so the birds' feet don't constantly grasp the perches in precisely the same position.

Swings and ladders are available, however, ladders are probably more frequently utilized as perches than for climbing. Although finches aren't typically big fans of toys, think about giving them little bells or hanging toys.

You should put the finch cage in a safe, calm place in your house. Finches are less anxious if kept apart from a hub of activity because, unlike parrots, they do not require human social interaction.

Finches can survive in a range of white temperatures but keep them away from vents, drafts, and direct sunlight. Finches can become acclimated to outdoor aviaries in warmer climes.

Several times per week, provide a shallow dish of fresh water for bathing.

Common health issues

Zebra finches may occasionally get a scaly face from mites, which necessitates veterinary care. Zebra finches are particularly vulnerable to air sac mite infestations under extreme stress. If you want the bird to survive, this terrible illness needs immediate veterinarian care. A veterinary specialist for birds should be consulted right away if your bird appears to be suffering from breathing problems.

Diet and nutrition

The majority of finches seek seeds in plants, weeds, pine cones, and berries in the wild. While leaving the rest of the fruit behind, some finches chew fruit to get at the seeds.

Place food dishes on the ground to imitate their natural foraging behavior (not under perches). Alternatively, you might fasten their feeder to the cage's side.

One to two tablespoons of high-quality finch seed mix every day should be given to your finches. Sprouting the seeds will ensure that the brand you purchase is new (put some in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel). The seeds are too old to be nurtured if they do not germinate. Sprouting seeds increase their nutritional value.

Along with a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, a range of green vegetables should be included, such as romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, kale, and spinach (in moderation). Give a spoonful or so of this fruit and veggie salad. Never feed birds avocado; the majority of birds get poisoned by it.

Try different things to see what they prefer, and keep providing variation. Your finches might need a few trials before they accept new foods.

Give your pet one teaspoon of pelleted food every day. Pellets are a specially prepared food source that is beneficial to include as a component of a varied and healthy diet. To persuade your finches to eat pellet food, be persistent.

Other supplements you can offer a few times a week include eggs or a commercially prepared egg supplement. This is ideal for all birds and is essential for breeding birds. Provide cuttlebone as a calcium supplement; birds also use it to sharpen their beaks. Grain is no longer supported as a supplement for Finches. But, if you offer them, only supply a few pellets at a time and very rarely.

Millet sprays are a well-liked treat. You don't want your bird to develop a predilection for millet and exclude other foods, so only offer it occasionally.

Fresh water should be available every day. And, at the end of the day, wash all the dishes that you used for feeding.


The majority of this little bird's exercise comes from flying in straight lines across the cage and climbing up perches and branches. Ensure that your cage or aviary has ample space for flight. They don't need as much physical activity.

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