Zebra Finch - Taeniopygia Guttata

Zebra Finch – Taeniopygia Guttata

Other Names: Chestnut-eared Fnch, Shelley, Spotted-sided Finch

Size: 10cm

Habitat: Zebra Finches are most commonly found in the drier areas of Australia, living year round in social flocks of up to 100 or more birds. Their favoured Habitat is dry wooded areas with opengrasslands and neraby waterholes.

Distribution: Zebra finches are very widely spread across australia, covering most of the continent. Exclusion areas are the wet coastal areas and the Island of Tasmania.

Food: Zebra Finches feed in large flocks. They mainly eat ripening grass seeds and insects. Livefood is favoured during breeding season as a stable source of nutrition for their young.

Zebra Finch - Taeniopygia Guttata

Zebra Finch – Taeniopygia Guttata

Nesting: The nest is a dome shape strucutre with a little entrance tunnel to the main chamber. Both male and female participate in construction of the nest. The external of the nest is constructed with strong grass and lined internally with feathers and softer grasses.

Breeding: Zebra Finches are very opportunistic breeders. The female alone selects the nest site, but both birds care for the eggs and young. The male will gather all the materials to be used for the nest, the female will proceed in costructing the dome. Between 4-7 eggs per clutch, incubation of 13-14 days.

Sexing: Very easy to distinguish between sexes. The cock has orange cheeks, spotted chestnut flanks and lack barring on the chest and throat.

Colour Mutations: As they are very commonly kept and bred by aviculturists around the world, new colour variations are commonly being developed. Recorded colour variations include:

  • Yellow-billed
  • Fawn
  • Chestnut-flanked white
  • Black-bodied
  • Normal blue
  • Dilute blue
  • Cream
  • Pied
  • Cream-backed
  • Black-faced

Notes: Zebra finches are very hard birds and are considered the most commonly kept Australian Finch. THe finch has a very characteristic call, somewhat like a toy trumpet.


After third egg is laid

Average clutch:

4-7 Eggs

Days to hatch:

13-14  days from incubation

Fledge date:

Generally 18-22 days old

Wean date:

30 days

First molt:

Begins 5 weeks and completes when reaches 3 months of age

Sexual maturity

Adult plumage indicates maturity however not to be bred as per all finches until they reach the age of 12 months.


Approx 7-8 years in aviary environment



Article Extract from Marcus Pollard at Clifton Finch Aviaries

Well, this little ‘Aussie Battler’ needs no introduction to the majority of the avicultural population! Their confiding nature, willingness to breed and great little song has made them a truly cosmopolitan species. The grey zebra is the true ‘wild-type’ finch but there are multitudes of mutations available at present.

The presence of so many mutations has been one of the major factors in the reemergence of the zebra finch in many of our aviaries. From the pastel tones of the Isabel to the darker colours of the Charcoals and West Australian fancies, the zebra finch is to be found in most of our aviaries – if not for their mutation monetary value then simply for their song alone. Anyway, it is great to be able to get their nests down and hand their chicks around to children that visit your aviaries – try that with most other varieties of grassfinches!!

They are easy to keep going and will live and breed on a diet of finch mix and a few leafy green vegetables. Breeding is no problem as a friend once stated, “If ya stood still long enough the little beggars would nest in yer hair” – never a truer word was spoken in jest! They are best kept by them selves as they have a tendency to outbreed the other occupants of the aviary and dominate the other birds. Thus saying, a single pair in a mixed aviary is usually OK as long as their young are removed regularly.
To give an example I once had 5 pair in a large aviary and went to Queensland for 4 months. On my return I took 195 young zebras out of that large aviary! The few longtails and diamond sparrows that shared their aviary breathed a sigh of relief!

Without a doubt the zebra finch and its various mutations would have a popularity of 10 but I feel their compatibility would be around 3-4



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