Purple Grenadier Waxbill
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Purple grenadier waxbill
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  • Scientific Name:  Uraeginthus ianthinogaster
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  2 or 3
  • Origin / Distribution:  Eastern Africa
  • Habitat In Wild:  Hot, dry tropics.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about  4 - 6  months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  12 months - 5th year
  • Lifespan (estimate):  About 7 years.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  None
  • Availability:  Rare.  Specialist breeders only.
  • Temperament:   May be kept with other finches but with their rarity in Australian aviaries it would be best to give each pair an aviary of their own.  Cock birds will be aggressive to other cock birds around breeding time hence only one pair per aviary.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $3000 or more
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 145 mm (or approx. 6 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 15 - 16 gms (or approx. 1/2 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.

May be kept with other finches but with their rarity in Australian aviaries it would be best to give each pair an aviary of their own.  Although they can be kept with other finches, only one pair of Purple Grenadiers should be housed per aviary.  This should minimize the chances of aggression or injury occurring.  They will hybridize with some other waxbills.

Although a planted aviary is preferred, they can be bred in a large cage.

They spend a lot of time on the floor of the aviary.  Low to medium height shrubs and tall growing grasses are ideal.

As a bird from the dry hot tropics these birds require an aviary that does not get too cold in the winter months.

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 vegetables.  Live food is essential especially at breeding season.  Small mealworms, small 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: Yes / No
  • Nesting months:  May breed year round if conditions are suitable but Spring to early Autumn gives the best results.
  • Nesting receptacles:  Will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush.  The dry brush and the shrubs must be low to the ground to mimic the nest sites in the wild.  Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests.  In a breeding cage they will use a wooden nest box with the top half of the front removed.
  • Nest:  Both parents build a dome shaped nest made from grasses with a side entrance.  Nest is lined with feathers and soft fine grasses.  Swamp grass and November grass are ideal.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

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 ..  Eggs per nest  3 - 5.  Incubation approx. 13 days.  Fledge approx.  21 days. Independent approx. another 4 - 5 weeks.

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

Overseas breeders successfully foster the eggs and young under Cordons or Bengalese finches.  Young should be removed from the foster birds as soon as they are fully independent so as to avoid possible imprinting from the foster birds.

In an aviary it is generally safe to leave the young in the same aviary after they become fully independent but with the rarity of these birds it is safer to remove the young to another aviary so they will not be subject to any aggression from a parent bird.  Young birds (when they become fully independent) must be removed when bred in a cage.

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 13 No 4 Apr 1959 Page 53-55 (Inc colour plate).
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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