Hooded Red Siskin
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Hooded Red Siskin
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  • Scientific Name: Carduelis cucullata
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: None
  • Origin / Distribution: Top of South America
  • Habitat In Wild: Tropical open woodland and savannah.
  • Status In Wild: Rare and protected - CITES appendix 1 classification.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure, also used by canary breeders.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 months  
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd - 5th year
  • Lifespan (estimate): about 7 - 8 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic /  Dimorphic
  • Mutations: No. Easily hybridizes with the Yellow Siskin and canaries.
  • Availability: Bird dealers.
  • Temperament: Non aggressive for most of the year but the level of aggression can increase approaching and during breeding season.  Can be bred in canary breeder cages.  Was used to develop the red factor canary.  Does well in a mixed finch collection.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $300
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 110 mm (or approx. 4.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 9 gms (or approx.1/3 ozs)

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.

Can be bred in canary breeder cages.  Was used to develop the red factor canary.  It does well in a planted aviary.

These birds are from a warm to hot environment so extra care should be taken in the southern Australian States if the birds decide to breed in cooler months or if the weather turns cold.  Birds may breed year round in a bird room if conditions are suitable.

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.

Good quality finch mix, seeding grasses and some fruits (e.g. apple) and green leafy vegetables.  Live food is essential especially at breeding season.  Mealworms, crickets and small locusts are ideal.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.

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

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: Yes / No
  • Nesting months: Spring to late 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.  Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests including canary nests.  In a breeding cage they use a canary nest.  
  • Nest: Made from a variety of materials including grasses.  Materials supplied for canaries are ideal.  Nest is lined with feathers and soft fine grasses.  Usually built at mid level i.e. about 1 - 2 metre height.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

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.  Clutch/s per year 2 - 3.  Eggs per nest 2 - 4.  Incubation approx. 13 - 14 days.  Fledge approx. 18 days.  Independent approx. another 4 - 5 weeks.

The hen feeds the young in the nest, but both parents feed the young when they leave the nest.

Birds may breed year round in a bird room if conditions are suitable.

To maximize production or in the case of accidents to a parent bird the eggs and young can be fostered by canaries.  Siskins must be removed from the canary foster birds and placed back into a Siskin environment as soon as they are fully independent.

Will hybridize with some other finches, canaries, the European Siskin and the Yellow Siskin.

Often bred in canary breeder cages.  Was used to develop the red factor canary.  Also does well in a planted aviary.

In the planted aviary the nest is usually built at mid level i.e. about 1 - 2 metre height and usually built by the hen.

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 58 No. 1 Jan 2004 Page 16-19.
  • A/A Vol 57 No. 11 Nov 2003 Page 238.
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 1 Jan 1995 Page 21-22
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 7 July 1992 Page 171-172
  • A/A Vol  8 No 11 Nov 1954 Page 136.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 11 Nov 1950 Page 136, 133.
  • The Bulletin No 4, Nov 1942 Page 1 (The breeding of finches - conclusion).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 676-681 (What's genetically pure and what's not)
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1995 Page 544-545
  • ABK Vol  6 Issue 8. Apr-May 1993 Page 392-393
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1991 Page 327-328

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