The Zebra Finch

Quick Facts

- Good for novice bird owners
- Best in pairs or small groups
- Small size
- Medium activity level
- Low Trainability
- Low sociability with people

Finches can be found throughout the world, both wild and domesticated. There are many different types of finches as the finch family is one of the largest of all bird families. All members of the finch family have stout cone like beaks with sharp edges that are perfect for crushing seeds and eating insects. Size, appearance, coloration and song vary per finch breed.

The most popular pet finch is the Zebra Finch. The Zebra Finch originally hails from Australia where they live in the open grasslands. Zebra Finches are the second most popular pet bird.

Zebra Finches make wonderful pets. They are generally easy to care for, less expensive, quieter and less work than the majority of pet bird breeds. They are an excellent choice for the novice bird owner. Unlike many of the other pet bird breeds, Zebra Finches are not birds that can be handled or allowed out of their cage, nor can they be taught to talk or do tricks. They are birds for owners to enjoy by watching them and listening to their lovely song. Due to their easy care, they make fantastic pets for offices and classrooms.

Zebra Finches are active little birds. They are very social with their own kind and should be kept in at least pairs. However, not all finches are compatible; finches that fight, ignore each other or pull out each other’s feathers should be separated and caged with a different finch they get along with better. Compatible finches will sit close to each other and gently preen each other’s feathers. Pet owners are best to buy females.

Zebra Finches are cheerful and always seem to be happy. They lovely quiet voices that most people find very pleasant. Despite being very small birds, they still need a fairly large cage; their cage should be at least 18 square inches, although bigger is better. Unlike many other pet birds, finches do not usually play with toys. They are happiest when their cage is placed in a quiet location. Zebra Finches can be kept outdoors during nice weather. They enjoy weather from 6- 30 degrees Celsius. However, when outside they should be protected from too much direct sunlight, rain and cats.

Appearance and Care:
Zebra Finches are small birds that measure about 9 cm tall. Like many bird breeds, male Zebra Finches are far brighter and more vibrant that females. They have brown bodies, bright orange-red beaks and males have bright orange cheeks. Most Zebra Finches enjoy bathing, and delight in splashing around in a birdbath regularly. To help keep them clean, owners should offer a birdbath once a week.

Health and Diet:
Zebra Finches are hardy little birds with an average life span of about 7-8 years. However, when well cared they have been known to reach 15 years in captivity. They are not prone to any serious diseases or health ailments; however, calcium deficiency and lack of sunlight can cause health problems that could have been avoided. Owners should ensure their birds have a healthy diet and receive adequate daily calcium to keep them healthy. Finches need at least some daily exposure to full spectrum light, sunlight is best, but if that is not possible owners should buy them a lamp that gives off full spectrum lighting. However, finches should also have protection from constant direct sun light, and should not be left in the hot sun all day. They also need protection from drafts so the do not catch a chill and get sick. They are the easiest of the pet birds to breed.

Their diet should consist of a high quality seed mixture and some fresh green like chickweed, sprouts or dandelions. Their seed dish should always have seed in it and be refilled daily with fresh seed. A source of calcium is extremely important for finches; owners can give them a cuttlefish bone or chicken eggshells. They should also be given a bit of grit to help their digestion, but as some finches can have difficulties if given in large amounts, only a tiny bit should be given at a time.


Located in: Birds