Orange breasted Waxbill
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Orange breasted waxbill
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  • Scientific Name: Amandava subflava
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: 2
  • Origin / Distribution: South Africa
  • Habitat In Wild: Open grasslands and cultivated farmlands.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 8 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 months
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd - 5th year
  • Lifespan (estimate): About 7 - 8 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations: None established
  • Availability: Bird dealers
  • Temperament: Peaceful, colourful, popular, active bird and breeds well.  Can be bred as a colony or in a mixed collection.  Can be bred as a single pair in a large canary style cage but results may not be as good as in an aviary.  These small birds will strongly defend their territory around their nest site.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $50
  • Description Of Adults: One of the smallest finches bred in aviaries.
  1. Length: Approx. 90 mm (or approx. 3.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 7 - 8 gms (or approx. 1/4 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 Orange breasted waxbill will breed best in a planted aviary and they spend a lot of time on the ground. 3 or 4 pairs in a planted aviary gives good breeding results.  Will hybridize with birds such as the Green Strawberry Finch and the Red Strawberry Finch.

Can be bred indoors in a budgie / canary breeder size cage as well as an outdoor aviary.

Care must be taken to ensure the bird cannot get through the wire in a cage or in the aviary.  Small birds may be able to get through some budgie or canary cage fronts.

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 some leafy green vegetables.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.  Live food is not essential during the non-breeding season but is beneficial during breeding season.  Adequate live foods generally improves the size and vigour of the young.  Small mealworms are ideal, small crickets can be offered along with other small insects.  Aphids can be offered.

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: May breed year round if conditions are suitable but Spring to Autumn gives the best results.
  • Nesting receptacles: Will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush such as tea tree.  Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests including a half open nest box.  In a breeding cage they will use a half open nest box.
  • Nest: Both parents build a spherical shaped nest with a small entrance tunnel made of fine grasses.  Nest is lined with feathers and soft grasses. November grass is ideal.  May use a half-open nest box or a commercial wicker nest.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Although the orange breasted waxbill is a peaceful finch in an aviary, they will aggressively defend the territory around their nest.  Nests are generally built at mid to high levels in the aviary.

They may use an abandoned finch nest and remodel it to their requirements.

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 rebuild the old nest or build a new nest for the next clutch.

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.  Eggs per nest 3 - 6.  Incubation approx. 11 - 12 days.  Fledge approx. 20 - 21 days.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.  The young may return to the nest for about one week after fledging.

First bred in South Australia in 1936 by Mr. H. S. Sewell.

Nest inspection of the orange breasted waxbill is generally tolerated but should be restricted.  In an aviary it is generally safe to leave the young in the same aviary as the parents after they become fully independent.  Young birds (when they become fully independent) must be removed when bred in a cage.

Will hybridize with birds such as the Green Strawberry Finch and the Red Strawberry Finch.

Although the hen may be capable of laying at about 8 months of age, it is preferable to allow the hens to fully mature and best long term results are from hens that are about 12 months of age prior to commencing breeding.

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. 3 Mar 2005 Page 58-62 (Inc photo).
  • A/A Vol 54 No. 5 May 2000 Page 100-104
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 11 Nov 1999 Page 260
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 2 Feb 1999 Page 25-28 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 6 Jun 1997 Page 131-134 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 45 No. 1 Jan 1991 Page 22-23
  • A/A Vol 44 No. 9 Sept 1990 Page 217-219 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 38 No. 7 Jul 1984 Page 154-155
  • A/A Vol 33 No. 6 Jun 1979 Page 98-100
  • A/A Vol 30 No. 9 Sept 1976 Page 136
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 8 Aug 1972 Page 136
  • A/A Vol 18 No 1 Jan 1964 Page 1-2.
  • A/A Vol 17 No 5 May 1963 Page 70-71.
  • A/A Vol 17 No 3 Mar 1963 Page 42.
  • A/A Vol 17 No 1 Jan 1963 Page 7-8.
  • A/A Vol 15 No. 8 Aug 1961 Page 101-102.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 4 Apr 1958 Page 49-50.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 10 Oct 1955 Page 117.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 2 Feb 1951 Page 18.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 10 Oct 1950 Page 122.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 5 May 1950 Page 64.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 676-681 (What's genetically pure and what's not)
  • ABK Vol  5 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1992 Page 241-244
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 9. Jun-July 1991 Page 403-406

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