Juniper Times

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Gouldian Finches Are Spectacular!

These beautiful finches are splendidly colored finches. The colors on their backs are gray, red, or orange heads, blue or green, whereas underneath the colors are purple, white, or yellow. Sometimes they almost appear to be unnatural because their colors are so vivid.

The black-headed (Poephila gouldiae), the red-headed (Poephila mirabilis) and the yellow-headed (Poephila armitiana) are three varieties that are naturally-occurring in color. These are the color varieties that are generally recognized, but there can be any number of color combinations derived from these basic colorations — including blue and yellow-bodied mutations.

In my opinion, they are one of the most colorful birds in the world. As in many species of birds, the coloration of the male Gouldian Finch is much more brilliant than that of the female. The male also has a noticeably longer center tail feather, giving him lots to boast about. An added feature is that only the males sing, and some better than others.

They come from the northern region of the Australian tropics. Unfortunately, since the 1960’s, Australia has banned the exportation of animals from the country. Again unfortunately, the they are endangered in their natural habitat. This does not mean, however, that they aren’t plentiful in other areas and easy to find.

Gouldian Finches are much more difficult to care for and breed than their heartier cousins, the Zebra and the Society Finches. I certainly wouldn’t recommend them for the novice bird owner who may have little or no experience with captive finches.

I have found that these finches, like many other types of finches, do not like to be petted or held. That says to me that those who would like a pet bird, one they can easily finger tame, should realize these aren’t the right birds for them.

Like the rest of the finches, Gouldian Finches are social and should be kept in one or more pairs. Also, since they are easily disrupted by frequent changes in their housing environment or by movement of their cage, you should find the perfect place to put them and leave them there. The reasoning behind that is that when they undergo frequent stress, it can eventually lead to weakening in the their resistance to disease. A happy finch is a healthy finch.

These little birds are very active. Whether they are in a cage or an aviary, they need the largest flying space out of any other finch species. Even though they are between five and five and a half inches in size, they need a minimum flying space of about twenty inches.

Their cages can either be metal or wooden and the space between cage bars is never greater than one-half inch. This is to prevent injury and escape. Brass cages are not recommended because of the potential toxic qualities. However, most cages that are brass in color are not actually made of brass.

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