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

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. Pictorella Finch
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  • An Australian Finch
  • Scientific Name:  Heteromunia pectoralis or formerly Lonchura pectoralis
  • Sub Species:  None
  • Origin / Distribution:  Across top of Australia except east coast of Queensland
  • Habitat In Wild:  Dry arid environment.  Open grasslands, lightly treed areas and Spinifex areas.
  • Status In Wild: Nomadic bird.  Currently secure, but not common
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
  • Adult plumage: attained by about  9 months (?)
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  2nd - 5th year.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx 7 - 8 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations: No
  • Availability: Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  The Pictorella finch is a good in a mixed finch collection.  Not a very easy bird to breed, so it is best left to experienced bird breeders.  Should not be housed with Chestnut breasted finch or the Yellow rumped finch due to the possibility of hybridization.  May breed year round in a suitable aviary.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $250
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 110 - 115 mm (or approx. 4.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 16 gms (or approx. 1/2 ozs)

This bird has been placed in a monotypic genus.  This means it is the only one in that genus.

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" web 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 Pictorella finch can be bred as a colony or in a mixed species collection in a large sparsely planted aviary with clear spaces on the floor.  Better success is generally achieved when housed as one pair per aviary.  Should not be housed with Chestnut breasted finch or the Yellow rumped finch due to the possibility of hybridization.

Can be bred as a single pair in a large canary style cage but results may not be as good as in an aviary.

They breed best in a planted aviary and they spend a lot of time 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 Pictorella finch requires a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses and some green leafy vegetables.  Live food is essential especially at breeding season.  Mealworms, crickets  small cockroaches and small locusts can be offered.  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: No
  • Nesting months: Varies upon which State the birds are being bred.  They can breed year round if conditions are suitable.  Spring to early autumn gives the best results.
  • Nesting receptacles: The Pictorella finch will build a nest in a low shrub or in tall grasses.  If these items are unavailable they will breed in dry brush such as tea tree or a variety of artificial nests including a timber nest box.  In a breeding cage they will use a nest box.
  • Nest: Both parents build a dome shaped nest made from grasses with a small side entrance hole.  Nest is lined with soft fine grasses.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen at night, both share during the day.

Nest inspections are generally not tolerated. They nest low to the ground.

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.
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 2 - 3.  Eggs per nest 4 - 6.  Incubation approx 13 - 14 days.  Fledge approx. 21 - 24 days.  Independent approx. 21 - 28 days.  The young may return to the nest for about one week after fledging.

Pair bonding is strong and best breeding usually occurs with birds that have the opportunity of choosing their own partner.  Changing an adult bird's partner is often unsuccessful.

In an aviary it is generally safe to leave the young in the same aviary after they have become independent.  Young birds (when they become fully independent) must be removed when bred in a cage.

If the planted aviary has a good amount of low shrubs and tall growing grasses, the Pictorella finch will usually choose to build their nest in those plants.  If the aviary does not have these items the birds will use artificial nests such as half open nest boxes.

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:

Avian husbandry notes for the Pictorella Mannikin by David Pace = Australian Aviculture Vol. 51 No. 7 July 1997 Page 160-161

  • Australian Aviculture

  • A/A Vol 55 No. 10 Oct 2001 Page 217-219
  • A/A Vol 55 No. 9 Sept 2001 Page 205-211 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 5 May 1997 Page 97-98
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 11 Nov 1992 Page 273-274
  • A/A Vol 44 No. 10 Oct 1990 Page 259-263 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 34 No. 12 Dec 1980 Page 240-242 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 31 No. 2 Feb 1977 Page 26-27
  • A/A Vol 28 No. 10 Oct 1974 Page 160-162
  • A/A Vol 25 No. 10 Oct 1971 Page 162-163.
  • A/A Vol 15 No. 7 Jul 1961 Page 99.
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 12 Dec 1960 Page 168.
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 9 Sept 1960 Page 121-122.
  • A/A Vol 13 No 6 Jun 1959 Page 90-92, 96.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 7 Jul 1955 Page 77-78.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 5 May 1955 Page 56.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 2 Feb 1952 Page 19.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 2 Feb 1951 Page 26.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
  • A/A Vol  1  No 6 Jun 1947.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 9. Jun-July 1997 Page 457
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 8. Apr-May 1991 Page 381-385
  • ABK Vol  3 Issue 2. Apr-May 1990 Page 61-64 (Part 3)

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