. Masked finch
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- An Australian Finch
- Scientific Name: Poephila
- Common Name/s:
MASKED FINCH, MASKED GRASSFINCH, WHITE EARED GRASSFINCH.
- Sub Species:
2....Nominate form = Poephila personata personata. White eared =
Poephila personata leucotis.
- Origin / Distribution: Across top
- Habitat In Wild: Open grasslands and
lightly treed areas.
- Status In Wild: Masked = low.
White eared = Rare.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Masked = Secure. White eared is less available.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: about
9 months of age
- Adult plumage: attained at about 2
- Best breeding years (estimate):
2nd - 5th year
- Lifespan (estimate):
approx 7 years
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic. Sexing can be difficult.
DNA sexing may be required.
- Mutations: Yes
- Availability: Bird dealers
The Masked finch is generally a
peaceful bird that can be bred in small
aviary or in a mixed collection in a larger aviary. They breed
well as a colony in an aviary. Do not mix with
other birds of the Poephila group due to the possibility of them
hybridizing. Generally make good parents.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx) $150 - $170, White eared approx $400
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Approx.120 - 125 mm (or approx 5 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo/s above if available.
- Weight: Approx. 18 gms (or approx 2/3 oz)
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.
Click on "Housing birds"
web page for general details on the housing
of Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.
The Masked finch prefers a planted aviary. Tall
grasses are ideal. Are
very adaptable birds being able to breed in all sizes of aviaries as
well as being suitable for inclusion in a mixed species collection.
Care must be taken to ensure they are not housed with other birds
of the Poephila group due to the possibility of them hybridizing
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
In the wild the Masked finch will
consume mainly ripe and half ripe seeds of grasses and herbaceous
plants. Insects form part of their food intake, especially during the
breeding season. In the wild the birds will obtain most of their insect
requirements from the ground or from within the foliage of shrubs,
plants and trees.
The Masked finch requires a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses
and some fruits (e.g. apple) and green leafy vegetables. Live food is
beneficial during the year and essential at breeding season. Medium size mealworms are commonly
used. Sprouted or soaked seed if available.
Basic seed mix should include Canary
seed, White French Millet, Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum.
A basic overview only.
- Roosting nest: Yes, used
during the non breeding season.
- Nesting months: Spring and
- Nesting receptacles:
They prefer to nest in short native shrubs or dry brush such as tea
tree. They will use artificial nests such as timber nest
- Nest: Dome shaped nest
made of grasses. Nest is lined
with feathers and soft fine grasses.
- Who incubates the eggs:
Hen / cock / both share.
They nest low to the ground and are more
tolerant of nest inspection than other Australian finches. Parents
usually build a new nest for each new 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 birds to build a new nest for the next clutch.
More details on
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.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year 2 - 3. Eggs per nest 4 - 6. Incubation
approx 14 days. Fledge approx. 21 days.
Independent approx. 18 - 21 days, sometimes up to 4 weeks. Fledglings
often return to the nest for about one week.
Masked finches are generally intolerant
of nest inspections. The young can be left with the parents after
they become fully independent without causing too many problems.
Pair bonding is fairly strong. Do not mix these two types in the same
aviary as they may hybridize. Keep the two types genetically pure.
They generally make excellent parents. Do not house Black
throated, Long tailed, or Masked finches together as hybridization may
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.
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 "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- 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.
- A/A Vol 57 No 6 June 2003 Page 132-133.
- A/A Vol 56 No. 8 Aug 2002 Page 172-173
- A/A Vol 56 No. 5 May 2002 Page 93-94
- A/A Vol 52 No.12 Dec 1998 Page 273-276 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 49 No. 10 Oct 1995 Page 237
- A/A Vol 45 No. 12 Dec 1991 Page 290-295 (White eared) (Inc
- A/A Vol 39 No. 12 Dec 1985 Page 288-289
- A/A Vol 39 No. 6 Jun 1985 Page
126-138 (White eared - Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 34 No. 5 May 1980 Page 84-85
- A/A Vol 30 No. 12 Dec 1976 Page
192-195 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 20 No 2 Feb 1966 Page 14-15 (White eared).
- A/A Vol 19 No 8 Aug 1965 Page 113 (White eared).
- A/A Vol 19 No 4 Apr 1965 Page 56-58 (White eared).
- A/A Vol 18 No 12 Dec 1964 Page 169-170 (White eared).
- A/A Vol 17 No 8 Aug 1963 Page 110 (White eared).
- A/A Vol 13 No 8 Aug 1959 Page 109-111 (Inc colour plate).
- A/A Vol 12 No 3 Mar 1958 Page 41-43.
- A/A Vol 6 No 3 Mar 1952 Page 38.
- A/A Vol 4 No 11 Nov 1950 Page 130-131.
- A/A Vol 3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
- A/A Vol 2 No 4 Apr 1948 Page 32-33.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 17 Issue 3. Jun-Jul 2004 Page 145-148.
- ABK Vol 4 Issue 8. Apr-May 1991 Page 381-385
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 1990 Page 473-477
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