Bengalese Mannikin
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Bengalese Mannikin
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    photo of bengalese mannikin
  • Scientific Name:  Lonchura domestica
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Domesticated species.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Not applicable
  • Status In Wild:  Not applicable 
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Common,  Secure.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  About 6 - 8 months.  Some may try to breed as early as 3 - 4 months of age.
  • Adult plumage: approx  3 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  12 months - 5th year.
  • Lifespan (estimate):  About 7 - 8 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  Yes. Some birds have a crest.
  • Availability:  Pet shops & bird dealers.
  • Temperament:  Non aggressive.  Excellent beginners bird.  Can be housed as a colony.  Can be used as foster parents for other species of finches.  Will hybridize with a wide range of other species.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - All colours (Approx.) $20
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 120 mm (or about 5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 15 gms (or about 1/2 oz)
Aviary Notes:

Read notes on "Finches - Non Australian" web page and use in conjunction with details outlined on this page.

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to "Government Laws" page.

Housing Requirements:  Click on "Housing birds" web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.

Can be bred indoors in a budgie / canary breeder size cage as well as an outdoor aviary.  Care must be taken when placing these birds in a mixed finch collection as Bengalese will hybridize with a large number of Australian finches as well as Foreign finches.

Diet / Feeding:  Click on "Feeding birds" web page for general details on the nutrition of  Non Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.

The Bengalese mannikin is one of the easiest species of birds to feed.  If raising their own young, they require a good quality finch mix and some seeding grasses to produce a successful clutch.  Some fruits (e.g. apple) and vegetables can be offered.  Live foods are not required for successful breeding of Bengalese.  Most Bengalese will consume insects as part of their normal diet and will be beneficial to their long term health and breeding longevity.  Feeding may have to be adjusted if the birds are being used as foster parents.  The preferred diet of the young fostered birds will have to be taken into account.  Live food may have to be added.

Basic seed mix should include Canary seed, White French Millet, Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum.

If Bengalese finches are to be used as foster parents to raise birds that have live foods as a dietary requirement, add live food to the foster parent birds and monitor which birds feed the live food to the baby birds.  Keep an accurate record of the birds that feed the best quantities of the live food to the babies.  Use these birds when one has to foster birds that have live foods as a significant portion of their preferred diet.  "Pairs" of two male Bengalese have been used successfully to raise foster birds.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest:  Yes / No  In a colony situation they may build a communal roosting nest and sometimes roost in the nest of other birds.
  • Nesting months:  May breed year round if conditions are suitable.
  • Nesting receptacles:  Will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush.  Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests.  In a breeding cage they will use a wooden nest box with the top half of the front removed or a canary nest.  
  • Nest:  The cock bird will build the nest from grasses.  Nest is lined with soft fine grasses.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Nest inspections are usually well tolerated.
More details on finch nests and a selection of finch nest photos can be located on the "nests", "finch nests" and "finch nest photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "nests" then "finch nests" and "finch nests photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 3 - 4.  Eggs per nest  4 - 7.  Incubation approx. 14 days.  Fledge approx. 21 days.  Independent approx. another 3 weeks.  Clutches of more than 6 may be the result of more than one hen laying in the one nest.

Bengalese are often used as foster parents for a wide variety of finches.  Test the pairs that may be used as foster parents for rare or expensive birds by testing the birds with inexpensive birds first.  If the foster parents are not good at incubation and rearing the introduced eggs, do not risk using that pair of Bengalese as foster parents on more valuable eggs unless there are no better options available.  The Bengalese generally tolerate nest inspections and allow the owner to keep a regular inspection of the young.  As soon as the young reach independence, remove the young and place them in another cage or aviary, preferably out of sight of their foster parents, to minimize the risk of the foster parents imprinting on the fostered birds.

Will hybridize with a large number of Australian finches as well as Foreign finches.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues:  Refer  "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new birds or sick birds are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer above option - "Avian Health Issues" web page.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 60 No. 5 May 2006 Page 106-108 (White Bengalese).

  • A/A Vol 53 No. 1 Jan 1999 Page 5-8 (History of the Bengalese).
  • A/A Vol 52 No.11 Nov 1998 Page 242
  • A/A Vol 39 No. 7 Jul 1985 Page 162-164
  • A/A Vol 25 No. 12 Dec 1971 Page 185-186.
  • A/A Vol 23 No 3 Mar 1969 Page 50-57.
  • A/A Vol 15 No. 7 Jul 1961 Page 97-99.
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 9 Sept 1960 Page 128-129.
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 8 Aug 1960 Page 112-113.
  • A/A Vol 13 No 4 Apr 1959 Page 66-68 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol  3 No 5 May 1949 Page 47-48.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 2002 Page 266-269.

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