Jul 29 2016

July 2016’s Animal Of The Month – Zebra Finches

There was a whole lot of chirping and tweeting going on in July about the tiny zebra finch. But now that the month is just about over, we must say good-bye to these social little birds. We hope you enjoyed following our July Animal of the Month feature @ExoticPetVets on Twitter, but if you missed any of our tweets, here’s a summary. Did you know?:

  • The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata [previously Poephila guttata]) is native to Australia, Indonesia and East Timor.
  • There are reported feral zebra finch populations in Portugal, Brazil, Puerto Rico & the US where they’ve been introduced.
  • Zebra finches in the wild are commonly found in open grasslands.
  • Because they naturally live in grasslands, zebra finches in captivity can be offered potted organic grass for stimulation.
  • Zebra finches are very social birds and in the wild live in large flocks.
  • In captivity, zebra finches should be in pairs or groups. They prefer other finches, but can be friendly to other birds.
  • Most zebra finches don’t like to be handled by people, but can enjoy some human interaction esp. if they’re hand-raised.
  • Adult zebra finches average 3 – 6 inches (7.5 – 15 cm) in length.
  • The zebra finch is a good choice for people who are concerned about space but would like a bird in the family.
  • Although zebra finches are small, they do better in larger cages while in captivity so they can have room to fly.
  • The minimum size for a zebra finch cage should be 1 ft x 1 ft x 2 ft long (30 cm x 30 cm x 60 cm)
  • The average weight of an adult zebra finch is 0.3 – 1/3 ounces (10 – 35 grams).
  • Zebra finches eat the equivalent of about 30% of their body weight every day.
  • In the wild, zebra finches eat seeds, fruits & insects, their diet varying when certain plants & fruits come into season.
  • Commercial seed diets tend to be high in fat and carbs and are not nutritionally balanced for zebra finches.
  • Zebra finches in captivity should eat a pelleted diet + a variety of veggies & fruits. Limit seeds to occasional treats.
  • Commercial pelleted diets for zebra finches are nutritionally balanced, eliminating the need to offer calcium supplements.
  • Zebra finches are so named from the black & white stripes across the neck and chest of the males.
  • Male zebra finches are more colourful than females, but both sexes have black & white markings on their faces and tails.
  • Zebra finches come in a variety of colour mutations, including white, fawn and pied.
  • Female zebra finches don’t usually sing, but males do and their call sounds like a squeaky toy.
  • Researchers are studying zebra finches to get clues about human speech patterns.

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