Finch Compatibility

I have often wondered what birds work well and live peacefully together in an aviary. I think for any level of finch keeper, this bit of information should form part of the Finch Basics Manual. Without understanding the compatibility of your birds amongst others, you may be heading towards some serious problems. And by compatibility I also refer to other species besides the Australian Grass-finch.

Certain species of finches are known to be territorial, aggressive and prolific breeders. these problems can be managed and possibly avoided if you have a better understanding on finch compatibility. We have touched previously on Mixed Aviaries (Mixed Collection) under the breeding section as well as Colony aviaries. But for this topic we will need to dive into it one more time.

A Mixed Aviary / Mixed Collection describes an aviary that houses a variety of Finch species. A mixed aviary can be used solely for indoor flights or more permanent style breeding solutions. A successful aviary requires a common acceptance amongst finches placed in aviary or unnatural environment.  

Be sure to monitor your finches when placed in the aviary. Any signs of aggression or injury require you to immediately remove both the aggressive individual or pairs as well as the injured. You may find that aggression and territorial levels will increase over the breeding season so be sure to have alternative holding cages if need be.

An example of a Mixed Aviary:

  1. Pair of Painteds
  2. Pair of Stars
  3. Pair of Hecks Finches
  4. Pair of African Fires

Birds that can be mixed according to their tolerance with other species are as follows:

  • Chestnut breasted finch
  • Painted Firetail
  • Zebra finch
  • Long-tailed Grass-finch
  • Star Finch
  • Masked finch
  • Double barred finch
  • Gouldian finch
  • Pictorella finch
  • Red-headed parrot finch

Limit to One Pair per Mixed Aviary:

  • Blue-faced parrot finch
  • Cordon bleu
  • Green singing finch

So what about keeping more than one pair of the same species? This is known as a Colony. Although these birds will be comfortable amongst each other, it is important that you monitor your space and special needs of your specific species. 

Russel Kingston explains that space is extremely important and calculation is based on 2 cubic metres (70.6 cubic feet) of space per bird. 

Successful colony birds are:

  • Chestnut breasted finch
  • Painted Firetail
  • Zebra finch
  • Long-tailed Grass-finch
  • Star Finch
  • Masked finch
  • Double barred finch
  • Gouldian finch
  • Pictorella finch
  • Red-headed parrot finch

Aggression between species is mentioned above and should always be noted with mixed collections.  

Birds that should not be mixed and perhaps better kept seperately are:

  • Crimson finch
  • Red-browed finches
  • Cut-throat finch
  • Diamond fire-tail finch
  • Java sparrow
  • Melba finch

Compatibility requires you understand not just their behaviour but also their habitat. Certain birds feed off the aviary floor whereas some will not. Some birds will nest high in the aviary settling in only specific nesting spots and materials where other will more than likely hijack or steal existing nests. It is important you provide solutions for all types of species kept.

In Summary, I am big fan of  Mixed Collection or Mixed Aviaries, I have very rarely come into any major issues with regards to general care and breeding however be sure to offer enough nests as this can be your first hurdle. Other tips would be to ensure you have sufficient feeding bowls, a variety of perches and natural sunlight would be beneficial.

Read through the bird profiles in this site to get a better understanding of your finches and their individual needs.

 

 

 

Canaries & Finches Minimize

You can house finches with canaries. If any sign of aggression is shown, separate them immediately. It is best to ensure that they are as close to similar in size as possible. Take note that diets and nesting needs will be different, so please ensure you meet both requirements. 

 

References

  • Care & breeding of Australian Finches - (Blewett / Kroyer-Pedersen) : This book is for the bird lover and the finch fancier. 
  • A Guide to Australian Grassfinches - Kingston): The popularity of Australian Grassfinches worldwide is largely due to the hardiness of these tiny, gregarious and colourful birds. The 18 members of the Australian Grassfinch Estrildid family are featured in detail. 160 colour photographs support the 80 pages of text and diagrams indicate visual differences. A must for every finch breeder's library. 
  • The New Finch Handbook by Christa Koepff: Barron's Handbooks for bird owners and breeders are written, designed, and illustrated in much the same attractive fashion as Complete Pet Owner's Manuals. However, most Handbooks are somewhat longer and more extensive in their coverage, the longest among them running to about 160 pages.