PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Goldfinch
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  • Scientific Name:  Carduelis carduelis  (Carduelis carduelis britannica is the main sub-species in Australia)
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  12
  • Origin / Distribution:  Britain, Europe through to Africa.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Woodlands and has adapted well to urban areas and farmlands.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Common.  Has established feral wild populations in some southern Australian States.  Carduelis carduelis britannica is the main sub-species in Australia.  Goldfinches in Australia may be a mix of 2 or more sub-species.   
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  2nd - 6th , some continue longer.
  • Lifespan (estimate):  Long lived, often more than 10 years.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic   However not easily sexed.  Experience may be necessary.
  • Mutations:  Yes,  and hybridizes easily.
  • Availability:  Bird dealers and many pet shops
  • Temperament:  Generally non aggressive.  Hardy birds but not a popular bird in aviaries possible due to their low value.  Generally do well as one pair of Goldfinches per aviary in a mixed collection.  Some people have success with them as a colony. Will damage plants and shrubs in an aviary.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $30
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx.  115 - 130  mm  (or about  5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx.  15 - 20 gms (or approx.  1/2 - 2/3 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" web 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.

The Goldfinch prefers a large planted aviary but they can be bred in a Canary style breeder cage of about 900mm long x 400mm high x 400mm deep (36 x 16 x 16 inches).  Only one breeding pair per cage.  Due to their ability to hybridize with a wide range of finches as well as canaries, care must be taken with the choice of species that share the aviary in a mixed colony situation.

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.

Goldfinches require a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses and some fruits (e.g. apple) and leafy green vegetables.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.  Live food is not essential but is beneficial especially during breeding season.  Mealworms are ideal, crickets and small locusts are also liked.

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

The soft foods commonly fed to finches such as canaries can be offered to these birds.  Soft foods are often offered to these birds during the breeding season when chicks are in the nest.  Soft foods should be gradually introduced to the diet to minimize any "tummy upsets".

The hen feeds the chicks while they are in the nest.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: Yes / No
  • Nesting months:  Spring to early Autumn.
  • Nesting receptacles:  Will build a open cup shaped nest in a shrub or dry brush.  Cup shaped nest is made from grasses and other suitable materials.  Will use commercial canary nests.  Plastic or wire Canary nests must be provided for pairs housed in a cage or cabinet.
  • Nest:  The hen makes a cup shaped nest made from fine grasses and other soft materials.  The cock bird is protective of the nesting area.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

In an aviary, nests are usually built between one and 2 metres above floor level.

The Goldfinch will usually build a new nest for each clutch.  Adequate spare nest receptacles must be available for pairs nesting in artificial nests before the current clutch leave the nest.  Adequate new nest material must be available for the hen to build a new nest for the next clutch.  Some birds will recycle pieces of nest material from the previous nest.
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 Bluish-white with reddish spots.  Clutch/s per year  2 - 3.  Eggs per nest  3 - 6.  Incubation approx 12 - 13 days.  Fledge approx. 14 days.  Independent approx. another 4 - 5 weeks.

Not commonly bred as an aviary bird and not an easy bird to be bred when compared to its low price/value.  To ensure good breeding results for the Goldfinch, purchase only aviary bred birds.  Birds trapped legally from wild feral populations may take a long time to settle down or die prematurely.  Wild trapped birds generally will not adapt to a cage.

Nest inspection is easy and generally well tolerated especially in birds housed in cages.  In an aviary it is generally safe to leave the young in the same aviary after they become independent.  Young birds (when they become fully independent) must be removed when bred in a cage.

Pairs should not be broken up during the breeding season, but can be "re-paired" during the non-breeding season.

Restrict breeding pairs to no more than 3 clutches per breeding season.  This is also applicable when breeding these birds in an indoor room.  These birds may breed year round if conditions are suitable.

The youngsters are not well developed when they leave the nest.  Once the young leave the nest, they usually do not return to the nest.  Juveniles are not easily sexed.

In a cage or cabinet setup, remove the old nest after the young are fledged and allow the adults to build a new 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. 11 Nov 2005 Page 237-241.
  • A/A Vol 38 No. 4 Apr 1984 Page 81-82 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 28 No. 9 Sept 1974 Page 146
  • A/A Vol 24 No. 6 Jun 1970 Page 82-88 (Inc photo).
  • A/A Vol 21 No. 11 Nov 1967 Page145-146.
  • A/A Vol 20 No 7 Jul 1966 Page 103-104.
  • A/A Vol 17 No 8 Aug 1963 Page 113-115.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 1 Jan 1953 Page 7.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 11 Nov 1952 Page 131.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 10 Oct 1951 Page 113-114.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol  7 Issue 3. Jun-July 1994 Page 133

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