Chestnut breasted Finch
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Chestnut breasted finch
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  • An Australian Finch
  • Scientific Name: Lonchura castaneothorax

  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: None in Australia, but there are some sub-species in New Guinea and off-shore islands.
  • Origin / Distribution: East coast of Australia from top of Queensland down to about Sydney.  Across the top of Northern Territory and Western Australia.
  • Habitat In Wild: Open grasslands and along waterways. Have adapted well to farmland and cultivated land including grain growing areas and sugar cane fields.
  • Status In Wild: Secure
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 9 - 12 months.
  • Adult plumage: attained by about  4 months of age.
  • Lifespan (estimate): about 7 - 8 years.
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd - 5th year.
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic. Difficult to sex.
  • Mutations: Yes
  • Availability: Bird dealers
  • Temperament: Once established, the Chestnut breasted finches can be good breeders. Can be a good beginners bird. Breeds well as a colony. Suitable for a mixed finch collection but may harass smaller finches. Will hybridize with many other finch species so care must be taken to avoid this possibility. May breed year round. They generally make good parents. Can be bred in a canary style cage.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx) $60
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 100 - 115 mm (or 4 - 4.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 17 gms (or about 1/2 ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Read notes on "Finches - 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 Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.

A planted aviary is preferred for the Chestnut breasted finch but they (one pair) can be bred in a large Canary breeder cage. Young chestnut breasted finches can be destructive to the aviary plants and may be best placed in an aviary devoid of shrubs till they reach adulthood. Adult birds tend to be less destructive of live shrubs and plants.

One of the best species to purchase if you want to breed them as a colony in an aviary.

Suitable for a mixed finch collection but may harass smaller finches.  Caution - the Chestnut breasted finch will hybridize with many other finch species so care must be taken to avoid this possibility.

In a colony situation in an aviary, make sure there are no spare cock birds.  Even one spare cock bird can disrupt breeding pairs.

Can be housed in a planted aviary, small aviary or a large canary style cage.  Can be bred indoors in a cabinet of about 900mm long x 400mm deep x 400mm high (36 x 16 x 16 inches).

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

The Chestnut breasted finch requires a good quality finch seed mix, seeding grasses and some fruits (e.g. apple) and green leafy vegetables.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.  Live food is not essential during the non-breeding season but is essential during breeding season to achieve optimal results.  Mealworms are ideal, small crickets, small captive bred cockroaches and small locusts are also liked.  The best breeding results are generally obtained from the pairs that feed live foods to the young.

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

Nesting: A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: No
  • Nesting months: Usually spring to autumn but may breed year round if conditions are suitable..
  • Nesting receptacles: The Chestnut breasted finch will breed in tall dense grasses or in shrubs or dry brush such as tea tree. Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests including nest boxes and wire baskets. Nests should be under the roofed section of the aviary.
  • Nest: Large dome shaped made with grasses usually without an entrance tunnel. Nest is lined with fine grasses and some may add some feathers. November and swamp grass are ideal. Often built in a secluded part of the aviary.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen during the night, both share during the day.

If large wire baskets are used, it can be loosely filled with nesting material and a cavity pushed into the centre of the material with a hand or fist.  This will leave an entrance hole and the birds can finish the nest building and line the nest.  Before the next clutch has commenced, the old nest can be partially or fully removed, new nest material added to the basket and allow the birds to finish the new clean nest.  Adequate nest material must be available.
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 2 or more.  Eggs per nest 5 - 8.  Incubation approx 13 days.  Fledge approx. 21 days.  Independent approx. another 21 - 28 days.

Young should be removed from the parents after they have become fully independent.

As with most insect eating finches, the increased consumption of livefoods is a good indication that there is young in the nest.

Caution - The Chestnut breasted finch will hybridize with many other finch species so care must be taken to avoid this possibility.

A leg ring can be placed on the leg of the young bird as soon as it leaves the nest.

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 59 No. 12 Dec 2005 Page 277-281.
  • A/A Vol 58 No. 12 Dec 2004 Page 270-272 (Inc. photo).
  • A/A Vol 44 No. 10 Oct 1990 Page 262-265 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 36 No. 12 Dec 1982 Page 267-269 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 29 No. 5 May 1975 Page 72-73
  • A/A Vol 19 No 9 Sept 1965 Page 126-127.
  • A/A Vol 10 No 5 May 1956 Page 58-59.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 10 Oct 1951 Page 116-118.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 214
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 1997 Page 281-282
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 2. Apr-May 1990 Page 61-64 (Part 3)

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