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

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. Painted finch
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  • An Australian Finch
  • Scientific Name: Emblema pictum
  • Sub Species: None
  • Origin / Distribution: Drier, arid northern & western inland portion of Australia.
  • Habitat In Wild: Drier, arid northern & western inland portion of Australia.  Areas of native scrub and Spinifex.  Often found at permanent or semi-permanent waterholes.
  • Status In Wild:  Common
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Common
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • 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
  • Mutations: Yes, fawn, yellow & pied.
  • Availability:  Bird dealers
  • Temperament: Good beginners bird.  They are generally peaceful, non aggressive and free breeders in captivity.  May breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable.  Does well in a mixed species collection.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx) $50
  • Description Of Adults: Has a long pointy beak.
  1. Length: Approx. 100 mm (or approx 4 inches)
  2. Colour ("normal" colour): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 12 gms (or approx less than 1/2 oz)
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.

The Painted finch is a desert bird and in the wild are subject to wild swings in temperature from near freezing to hot summer desert heat.

They need a warm, dry aviary.  They will breed in a large canary style cage.  As a single pair the number of young produced per pair is generally higher than those kept as a colony.  The aviary does not have to be a planted aviary.  The birds will be happy and breed in a parrot style aviary (i.e. no plants).  A fully roofed aviary is preferred.

They spend a lot of time fossicking around on the ground.

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 Painted firetail finch requires a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses and some fruits (e.g. apple) and green leafy vegetables.  The painted finch has a big preference for seeding grasses and will eat a wide variety of grasses.  Live food is beneficial during the year and essential at breeding season.  Small mealworms, small 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.

Pot plants of seeding grasses can be a good supplement to the dry seeds.

Nesting: A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: No
  • Nesting months: Varies, depends on climatic conditions.  Can breed year round if conditions are suitable.  Spring to early autumn is preferable.  In the wild they usually breed between January and August.
  • Nesting receptacles: The Painted finch will nest in natural low shrubs, dried bundled branches such as tea tree.  Some will breed in a variety of artificial nests such as a half open wooden nest box.
  • Nest: The cock bird builds the nest from long grasses, coconut fibre, soft parts of Pampas grass flowers and the hen lines the nest with feathers and soft fine grasses such as November and Swamp grass.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen during the night, both share during the day.

The Painted finch will generally tolerate moderate nest inspections better than most of the other Australian finches.

In the wild the Emblema finch will nest close to the ground.  Generally below a height of 1.5 metres.  Parent birds generally reuse the nest for subsequent clutches.  Adequate new nest material must be available for the birds to refurbish the old nest or build a new nest for the next clutch.  Adequate spare nest receptacles must be available for pairs nesting in artificial nests before the current clutch leave the 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 White.  Clutch/s per year 3.  Eggs per nest 3 - 6.  Incubation approx 14 days.  Fledge approx. 21 days.  Independent approx. another 28 days.

Pair bonding is not strong.  The Painted finch can be "paired-up" at any age.  They are usually good parents.

Can breed year round if conditions are suitable.  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 can usually be broken up and successfully accept a new partner.

For the first week after leaving the nest, the young birds may spend most of their time on the ground.  Soon after they will move to higher parts of the aviary.

These birds can be bred in a cage.  A cage of 1000 long x 600mm wide x 600mm deep (about 3 x 2 x 2 feet) is suitable for the breeding of one pair.  Breeding results in a cage with one pair per cage usually gives better breeding results than colony breeding situations.  Young should be removed from a cage as soon as they become fully independent.  This will allow the adult birds to start another clutch.  Birds kept indoors in a cage will benefit if they are given access to an aviary during the non breeding season.  This allows them more exercise and should improve their overall health and fitness.

Do not allow these birds to breed too frequently each year.  3 clutches is sufficient each year.  Go for quality over quantity.  Spring, summer and early autumn usually gives best breeding results.

Many breeders place a coloured numbered leg ring on each young prior to the young leaving the nest.  This is most important if breeding in a colony so an accurate record of each bird's genetic background can be traced and recorded.  The bird's genetic record can be given to the new owner to help better predict future breeding colour results.  Numbered leg rings will allow the owner to prevent next year's breeder birds being paired up with closely related birds.

The Painted finch will generally tolerate moderate nest inspections better than most of the other Australian finches.

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 "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.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • A/A Vol 60 No. 6 Jun 2006 Page 119-124 (inc colour drawing).
  • A/A Vol 57 No 9 Sept 2003 Page 205.
  • A/A Vol 56 No. 2 Feb 2002 Page 32-34 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 5 May 1999 Page 104-108
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 2 Feb 1999 Page 45-46
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 4 Apr 1995 Page 96-97
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 9 Sept 1994 Page 224-227
  • A/A Vol 41 No. 12 Dec 1987 Page 306-308
  • A/A Vol 41 No. 7 Jul 1987 Page171-173 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 11 Nov 1980 Page 221-224 (Nest construction)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 7 Jul 1980 Page 130-134 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 5 May 1980 Page 88-91
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 11 Nov 1972 Page 181-182
  • A/A Vol 24 No. 7 Jul 1970 Page 97-98.
  • A/A Vol 18 No 10 Oct 1964 Page 136-139.
  • A/A Vol 14 No 6 Jun 1960 Page 82.
  • A/A Vol 11 No 10 Oct 1957 Page 144-147.
  • A/A Vol 10 No 4 Apr 1956 Page 46.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 6 Jun 1954 Page 75-76.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 2 Feb 1954 Page 18-19.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 5 May 1953 Page 57.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 2 Feb 1953 Page 26.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 3 Mar 1951 Page 38-39.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 10 Oct 1949 Page 111.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 95.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
  • The Bulletin No 23, Sept 1944 Page 4 - 6.
  • The Bulletin No 12, Sept 1943 Page 8 (A new colour variation).
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 2002 Page 9-11.
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1998 Page 215-216
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1998 Page 221-223
  • ABK Vol  5 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1992 Page 233
  • 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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