Live food (cooked mealworms, ant pupae, flying termites, small grasshoppers, crickets), grass seeds, small millet, niger, poppy seed, oats, some fruits (apples, oranges, figs, dates, guava, papaya), egg food, green food (spinach, dandelion, chickweed).
Grassland, open areas with some shrubbery, plantations, gardens, forest edge and clearings.
When not breeding, these parrot finches live in groups or small family parties. Feeds in both growing vegetation and on the ground. Breeding pairs prefer to nest in crevices or holes over building a free-standing nest. Courtship involves the cock chasing the hen while calling loudly. The pair may display by circling each other with tails pointed toward each other.
Because these birds may be prone to obesity and stress when housed in a cage, they should be kept in larger enclosures such as spacious aviaries; high-fat foods should be avoided. Other health problems may include: egg-binding, intestinal parasites (since these birds tend to feed on the ground) including coccidia, yeast problems (with damp cage floors), heat stress (if chased during hot weather), and air-sac mites. Larger enclosures with open areas will allow you to witness their fast and agile flight. These birds are sensitive to the cold and do best if housed at temperatures above 65° F (18° C). They are very fond of bathing and should be provided with regular bathing opportunities. Because they are "climbing birds" in the wild, they will appreciate some vertical perching opportunities such as bamboo and/or tall grasses in their enclosure. Fertile hybrids have been reported between this species and the blue-faced parrot finch (E. trichroa), so be careful when housing these species together. The red-throated parrotfinch has additionally hybridized with: Royal parrotfinch (E. regia), Fiji parrotfinch (E. pealii), Pin-tailed parrotfinch (E. psittacea), Bengalese finches (Lonchura domestica), Red-browed firetail (Neochmia temporalis) (hybrids died as nestlings), and the Black-throated finch (Poephila cincta).
They may breed year-round.
Pairs are most fertile when young, but should be at least 9 months old before breeding. Birds can be bred in one-pair-per-enclosure (better productivity) or in a colony. If colony breeding, make sure there are at least as many hens as cocks. Red-throated parrotfinches can be bred in cages, flights, or aviaries, but should be bred indoors in cooler climates. Introduce the hen(s) about a week before the cock(s). Nests may be built in hollow logs, within large nest boxes, in trees, shrubs, under overhanging clumps of grass, or in recesses of buildings. Provide numerous nest sites at various heights and "pre-stuff" the nests with a handful of nesting material. Nesting materials used include long grass stalks (coarse and fine), long leaves, and coconut fiber. Feathers are sometimes used to line the inside of the egg chamber. Both sexes engage in nest construction; mating usually, but not always, takes place inside of the nest. Both members of the pair will incubate the eggs and roost together in the nest at night. Breeding birds should be offered a breeding diet from the very start of breeding, including a wide variety of food such as egg food, sprouted seed, peas, corn, and half-ripe seeds.Live food is desirable but optional. The parents may not accept animal proteins until their chicks hatch, but will use these foods for rearing purposes. The parents may not start feeding the chicks until they are about 24 hours old. Chicks have luminous gape tubercles which act to reflect light and help the parents find the hungry mouths in the dark of the nest.Chicks participate in nest hygiene by positioning themselves near the nest entrance to defecate outside of the nest. The parents cease brooding the chicks when they reach 9-10 days of age; it is therefore important to ensure a sufficiently warm enclosure at night for the wellbeing of the chicks at this stage. If the nest becomes too hot or if the chicks are disturbed before they are ready to fledge, they may prematurely exit the nest and fall. Once they have fledged, the young do not tend to return to the nest to roost at night. Both parents may feed the fledglings, but this is mainly the job of the cock; the hen will be more interested in starting her next brood. If the used nest is dirty, it should be removed so the pair builds a fresh one before the next clutch of eggs is laid. If being housed in an aviary, young may not need to be removed from the enclosure until they are molting into adult plumage; birds being cage bred, however, should have the young removed once fully weaned (3 weeks after fledging) to prevent the cock from chasing them. Molting into adult colors takes about 8 weeks. Once they have attained adult plumage, young males and females should be housed separately. Continue to feed the juveniles the breeding diet until they have completed their molt into adult colors.
Clutch size:3-6 eggs
Incubation date:Once the 4th egg is laid
Hatch date:After 12-14 days of incubation
Fledge date:At 21 days of age
Wean date:Around 5-6 weeks of age
Sexual maturity:Although Parrot Finches may become sexually mature around 3-4 months of age, many breeders recommend waiting until the birds are at least 6-9 months of age before breeding them
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The Red-throated Parrot Finch :
Erythrura psittacea or Amblynura psittacea
Hardiness:Somewhat hardy; long-lived
Compatibility:Passive, mixes well with other passive species
Size:4¾" (12 cm)
Weight:Around 19 grams
Approx. cost:$150-250 (US) per pair
Other common names:
Red-faced Parrot-finch, Red throated Parrotfinch, Red-throated Parrotfinch, Red-throated Parrot-Finch, Red-headed Parrot Finch*, Red-headed Parrotfinch*
*Note: "Red-headed parrot finch" now more commonly refers to Erythrura cyaneovirens, previously known as the royal parrotfinch.
New Caledonia, an island about 800 miles off the Queensland coast.
Area of distribution
Over the entire island of New Caledonia.
Lively, inquisitive, peaceful.
Both the cock and hen are a bright, solid grassy green with a bright red head, throat, rump and tail. The beak is black and the legs are brownish horn. The juvenile is a more drab green with orange-carmine on its rump and tail and a hint of red on its head and throat. The juvenile's bill is at first amber yellow with a dark tip. Mutations include:
Pied (Pied normals have yellow splashes of color; pied sea-greens have white splashes of color) - autosomal recessive
Seagreen (this mutation causes the green areas to become seagreen and the red areas to become more orange in color)
Blue (the green areas are replaced by a deep blue; the mask becomes salmon)
The cock will sing a longer more drawn out trill than the hen. The cock may have slightly more vibrant and extensive red on top of his head and/or throat, but this method of sexing is often unreliable. The red on the hen's face does not extend behind the eye. The red on her rump may be less intense, and her belly may not "glisten" as much in the sunlight.
The song is described as a simple strophe composed of numerous repetitions of a single element (single whistling note repeated).
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Photo by Esben.
Bathing parrot finches.
Sea-green parrot finch
Pied normal parrot finch. Photo by Billy Cochran.
Photo by Esben.
Red-throated Parrot Finches:
Red throated parrot finch.Erythrura
Red Faced Parrot finch other finches
Red-headed Parrot Finch
The Parrot Finches are so named because of their beautiful coloration, much more showy than many finches!
The Red-headed Parrot Finch is a very beautiful grassfinch. They are not real common in captivity but are not difficult to keep and breed. They do not do well as a caged pet however, but thrive wonderfully in an aviary. In the aviary they are very active, agile flyers and friendly with lots of other kinds of birds.
In the wild they live in grass and brush lands, as well as abandoned plantations. They eat grass seed they find on the ground as well as climbing the grass stocks and eating the seed still at the top. They also eat bugs and insects. This grassy environment provides a large portion of their needs from food and cover, to bedding materials for their nests.
For more information about the care of Finches see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Finch
Care and Feeding:
Fresh food and water must be provided daily. A good finch seed mix will provide their everyday need of grass seeds and millets and is readily available at a pet store. They are much more a vegetarian than most of the parrot finches and should also be offered greens, green seeds, fruits, millet, chickweed, and even oats. They will also need proteins such as scalded mealworms, enchytraeids, ant pupae, and egg food.
Finch treats of seed with honey, fruits and vegetables are fun for your bird too, as well as nutritious!
Grit with charcoal is essential to aid in digestion and it contains valuable minerals and trace elements. Grit should be provided in a special cup or sprinkled over the bottom of the cage floor. Provide a cuttlebone because the calcium it provides will give your bird a firm beak, strong eggshells when breeding, and will prevent egg binding. The lime in the cuttlebone also aids in digestion.
Provide you finch with an occasional bath. A bath dish that is 1" deep with a 1/2" of water, or a clip on bath house work well.
Their nails will occasionally need to be trimmed, but be careful never to clip into the vein as the bird can quickly bleed to death. Bird nail trimmers and styptic powder to stop the bleeding are available at pet shops.
Red-headed Parrot Finches do very well in aviaries or bird rooms. The screening should be 3/8" square mesh. Dishes for food, water, grit and bathing water must be provided along with perches and nests. They cannot take extreme cold, so a minimum temperature of 65°F (18°C) would be the least they can tolerate (68°F (20°C) when they are breeding).
Being quite active, they need lots of open space to fly. In their native environment grasslands and shrubbery are the norm, so they will appreciate corners with thickly planted shrubs. Plants that are not poisonous, such as fruit trees, privet, forsythia, and honeysuckle bushes will make the space more enjoyable for the finches.
Although finches require very little time, a clean environment as well as fresh food and water daily is a must to prevent disease and illness. The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly wash and dry all other accessories in the aviary, including the perches.
Red-headed Parrot Finches live naturally in groups when not breeding. They are very social. They become very friendly with many different kinds of birds and the aviary life suites them perfectly.
Finches are simply enjoyed for their antics and play rather than training. When you need to handle your finch to examine it or clip it's nails, place your palm on it's back and wrap your fingers around the bird with your thumb and forefinger on either side of it's head. Finches rarely bite, and even if they do, they do not have a harmful or dangerous bite.
Red-headed Parrot Finches are active, flittering around and twittering most of the day with a few short quiet periods.
Red-headed Parrot Finches if fed a good diet are not difficult to breed, but do not do well in cages. They are best bred in an aviary. It is difficult to pick out pairs so breeding in small colonies works best.
In the wild they nest in holes in rocks, trees, bushes and even in the recesses and beams of buildings. They like on enclosed or semi-open nesting box. Nesting materials can include dry leaves, grass stalks, and coconut fibers but they like long fibers best.
The female will lay a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs. The male and female will both help build the nest and incubate the eggs and they will hatch in about 14 days. The parents will feed the young proteins rather than vegetable foods, so offer ant pupae, egg food, and mealworms.
The young leave the nest about 21 days after they hatch and in another two weeks will be on their own. Banding finches is generally done on the 12th day.
Red-headed Parrot Finches are hardy birds and almost all illnesses can be traced to improper diet, dirty environment, and drafts. They are also susceptible to cold, and should be kept at temperatures above 65°F (18°C). A balanced diet and plenty of exercise will prevent most illnesses. Know your birds and watch for real drastic changes as indications of illness.
Some signs of illness to be aware of are droppings that are not black and white, feathers that are ruffled, lack of appetite, wheezing, and acting feeble and run down.
Some of the common illnesses and injuries your finch could contract are broken wings or legs, cuts and open wounds, overgrown beaks and nails, ingrown feathers, feather picking, confinement cramps in the legs from a cage that is too small, weight loss, heat stroke, shock, concussion, egg binding, diarrhea, mites, colds, baldness, scaly legs, sore eyes, tumors, constipation, and diarrhea.
First you can try and isolate the bird in a hospital cage where you cover all but the front of the cage and add a light bulb or heating pad to keep the interior of the cage at a constant temperature of 85° F. Remove all perches and put food and water dishes on the floor. If you don't see improvements within a few hours, take the bird to an avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Red-headed Parrot Finches are not very common or often available and are rather costly.
Erythrura psittacea Learn more about the Red-headed Parrot 'Family', the Estrildidae Finches here in Finch Families
Red-headed Parrot Finches reach a size of 4.5" (12 cm). Their bodies are a bright glossy green and they have a bright red head, throat, and upper breast. The bill is black, and the legs and feet are gray.
The female is similar to the male, though they sometimes have more muted coloring and the red on the face is smaller and lighter than on the male.
Juveniles are dull green in color and have a dull red tail. Some may have red on their face, but the amount of red varies with each individual. Their full color is achieved at about four months of age.
Red-headed Parrot Finches are native to the Pacific Island, New Caledonia.