Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

There are many finch species , but one of the most popular as a pet is the zebra finch. This species is tough and relatively easy to care for. It is an excellent choice for the first time bird owner. Zebra finches are usually kept in pairs and entertain their owners without much interaction. This species is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of time to spend with your pet bird. Other Finches may be more brightly colored, but some are easier to keep successfully than zebra finches.

Zebra Finch
Zebra Finch

species overview
Common Names : zebra finch, chestnut-eared finch, spotted-sided finch, and the Australian aboriginal names “nyi-nyi” and “nyen-ka”

Scientific name : Kavalaya guttata
Adult Size : 4 inches tall – one of the smallest (though not the smallest) finches.
Life expectancy: 3 to 15 years, although 3 to 5 years is normal

Origin and History

Zebra finches also live in large herds in their native habitats of arid regions of central Australia, Indonesia and East Timor. Zebra finches have been introduced to Costa Rica and Portugal, where wild herds now exist. Its preferred habitat includes a range of grasslands and forests, preferably close to water.


Zebra finches are small birds that are active and fun to watch. Although small, the zebra finch needs a large cage for flight. All finches are social and should be kept in pairs. A male and female pair usually breeds fairly easily , so you may want to consider keeping only females. Some recommend keeping them either in pairs or in groups larger than six. If you keep more than a pair, you will need a larger cage, such as a flight cage or aviary. Although they are social with each other, zebra finches do not bond strongly with people. They can be tame, but don’t like the handling. With a lot of training, you can get it into your hands. When it comes to vocalization, the bird emits quiet chirps and peeps that are easy to tolerate. This species should be suitable for apartment or condominium living.

speech and vocalizations

All Finches have different types of whistles and calls. The Zebra Finch has a cool, trilling, conversation song. The father bird usually teaches young chicks to be vocal. He teaches a song, and they improvise with short trills and whistles to personalize it. Like many of his reforms, outside voices have been heard. Some finch owners sing or play music to motivate their birds.
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Zebra Finch Coloring and Marking

Zebra finches are fascinating birds. They are diporphic, which means you can tell the sex apart just by looking at them. Males have brown black and white bars on the throat and breast, orange cheek patches, and sides of the body. Females are brown in those spots. Both males and females have reddish-orange beaks, although the male’s beak is much brighter in hue. In captive-bred zebra finches, a wide variety of color mutations are available.

caring for a zebra finch

When keeping a zebra finch, cage height is not as important as room for horizontal flight, so a tall but short cage is acceptable. It’s a good idea to get the largest cage possible. A good size for a pair of finches is 30 inches long, 18 inches high, and 18 inches wide. If you are going to get a large group of birds, you will need an aviary or flight cage. Wire spacing should be 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. Supply a variety of supplies, but make sure the cage isn’t so cluttered that finches can’t fly back and forth. For perches, you can use dowels in two different sizes, or add some natural branches, perhaps nailing them to diversify, so their feet don’t always lay evenly on perches. Huh. You can provide swings and ladders, although the ladder will probably be used for perching rather than climbing. Consider giving them small bells or hanging toys, although finches are generally not very interested in toys. Keep the finch cage in a quiet, safe place in your home. Unlike parrots, finches do not crave social interaction with people, so they will become less stressed when away from an activity hub. Finches tolerate a white range of temperatures but avoid placing them in draft areas near direct sunlight or heat- or air-conditioning ducts. In warm climates, you can accept Finches in outdoor aviaries. Provide a shallow dish of fresh water several times a week for bathing.
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common health problems

Zebra finches can be prone to a scaly face caused by mites , which requires treatment by a vet. Zebra finches are prone to air-sac mite infestation, especially when become overly stressed. This serious condition requires immediate veterinary care if you want the bird to live. If your bird ever has difficulty breathing, seek help from an avian veterinarian immediately.

diet and nutrition

In the wild, most fiche forage for seeds from plants, weeds, pine cones, and berries. Some finches would chew the fruit to get the seeds while leaving the fruit behind. To imitate their foraging instinct, put food dishes on the floor (not under the perch). Or, you can attach your feeder to the side of the cage. Feed your Finches one to two teaspoons of good quality finch seed mix every day. Check to make sure the brand you get is fresh germinating seed (put in a plastic bag lined with a damp paper towel).

If the seeds do not germinate, the seeds are too old to feed. The seeds are at peak nutritional value when germinated. A variety of greens should be provided, including romaine salad, dandelion greens, kale, and spinach (in moderation), along with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Give about a teaspoon of this salad or a chopped fruit/vegetable mix .

Never give up – it is toxic to most birds. Experiment to find what they like and have a variety to offer. This can make your finch try to accept new foods. Provide one teaspoon of pelleted food daily. Pellets are a ready nutritional source, which is good to offer as part of a varied and balanced diet. Be consistent in getting your finch to accept pellet food. Other supplements you can introduce twice a week include eggs or a commercially prepared egg food supplement. It is great for all birds and is essential for breeding birds . Provide cuttlebone as a calcium supplement—birds also use it to enhance their beaks. Grit is no longer supported as a supplement for finches. But, if you offer it, only provide a few granules at a time and very rarely.

For a treat, millet sprays are a big favorite. Offer it occasionally- you don’t want your bird to develop a preference for millet and exclude other foods. Provide fresh drinking water daily. Clean all food dishes at the end of the day.
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These small birds get most of their activity in the cage through straight-line flights, as well as climbing perches and branches. Make sure your cage or aviary is large enough for flight. They do not require much in the way of exercise. professionals.

  • Quiet, moderately chirpy – good pet for the apartment.
  • Doesn’t need exercise time with you.
  • good first pet bird.


  • not affectionate or social with humans.
  • need a bigger cage for flight.
  • don’t like handling.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Zebra Finch

Zebra finches are commonly sold at pet stores such as breeders , and can be found through rescue or adoption agencies. They can cost $20 to $100, depending on the color mutation. To find available birds, some online sources you can try include:

  • bird breeders
  • finch farm
  • adopt a pet

If you are going the breeder route, ask the breeder if they are breeding and working with the species. If you can, take a tour of their facility. Look for signs of good overall health in the herd. Birds should be active and alert, with bright eyes, clean plumage, and full crops.

More pet bird species and further research

If the zebra finch is a species that interests you, you may also want to consider one of these other finch species:

  • Goldian Finch Species Profile
  • House Finch Species Profile
  • Java Finch Species Profile.

Otherwise, check out our profiles of other small bird species .