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

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. Saffron finch
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  • Scientific Name: Sicalis flaveola
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: 4.  Including -  Sicalis flaveola pelzelni - which is the most distinctive of the 4 sub-species.
  • Origin / Distribution: Top of South America
  • Habitat In Wild: Lightly wooded areas and open grassland.
  • Status In Wild: ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Numbers are low.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 2 years.
  • Adult plumage: attained between 12 - 24 months. Cock birds may take up to 3 years to develop full plumage colouring.
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd - 8th
  • Lifespan (estimate): Up to 10 years.
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations: None known.
  • Availability: Bird dealers.
  • Temperament: Generally compatible in a mixed collection but with best results are with one pair per aviary.  Cock bird can be aggressive.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $500
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 145 mm (or about 5.5 inches)
  2. Colour ("normal" colour): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 20 gms (or about 4/5 ozs)
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.

Best kept as one pair per aviary.  Prefers a well planted aviary with thick shrubs and tall growing grasses.  Generally make good parents but the young should be removed as soon as they become independent to avoid the possibility of aggression from the parent birds.  Pairs can be kept together year round.

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), vegetables and green leafy vegetables.  Live food is essential especially at breeding season.  Mealworms and small crickets 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.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest: Yes / No
  • Nesting months: Spring to Autumn
  • Nesting receptacles: Will build a cup shaped nest in a shrub or dry brush.  Equally it will build a nest in a nest box.
  • Nest: Cup shaped nest made from grasses and other suitable materials.  Nest is lined with feathers and soft materials.  They often make an untidy nest and will incorporate a wide range of available materials into the nest.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Nest height - generally built high in the aviary.

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 Brown.  Clutch/s per year 2 - 3.  Eggs per nest 4 - 7.  Incubation approx. 13 days.  Fledge approx. 14 days.  Independent approx. another 14 days.

Live foods are essential for breeding success.  Although it is easy to look into the nest, nest inspections are generally not tolerated.

Generally make good parents but the young should be removed as soon as they become independent to avoid the possibility of aggression from the parent birds.  Both parents feed the young.  Hens are quick to recommence nesting.

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 57 No. 8 Aug 2003 Page 182-183.
  • A/A Vol 32 No. 12 Dec 1978 Page 195-198 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 20 No 10 Oct 1966 Page 138-143 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 12 No 4 Apr 1958 Page 59.
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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