. Spice finch
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- Scientific Name: Lonchura punctulata
- Common Name/s:
SPICE FINCH, NUTMEG FINCH, SPICE BIRD.
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution:
South-east Asia. Their natural range has been extended
by their successful introduction and establishment to other areas.
- Habitat In Wild: Grasslands
and lightly timbered areas. Has adapted to farmlands and urban
- Status In Wild: Secure.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Secure, but has low popularity.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
- Adult plumage: attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate):
2nd - 6th.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx. 8 -
- Sexing: Monomorphic
- Mutations: None
- Availability: Pet shops and
bird dealers. Not commonly kept
partially because of their low value. Can be disruptive in a
mixed species collection Has established feral
wild populations in Queensland and New South Wales.
- Temperament: Are a good
choice for beginners. They will accept a wide variety of
aviaries or cages and accept a variety of nest types.
Generally have a high fertility rate and raise lots of young.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $50
- Description Of Adults: Genus Lonchura.
- Length: Approx. 110 mm (or approx 4.5 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo/s above if available.
- Weight: Approx. 15 - 16 gms (or approx 1/2 oz)
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"
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.
Other than for feeding and drinking,
they do not spend much time at ground level. They like tall
grasses, small bamboo plants and shrubs in their aviary.
Can be housed in a planted aviary as a
single pair of Spice finches in a mixed collection, as a colony of Spice
finches, or even as one pair in a cage. Can be bred as a single pair in a large canary style cage but results
may not be as good as in an aviary.
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
Good quality finch mix, seeding grasses
and some fruits (e.g. apple) and some green leafy vegetables. Live food is
not essential during the year but is beneficial during breeding season.
Mealworms, small crickets 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.
Will generally eat all types of seeds
and will consume considerable amounts of ripe and semi-ripe seeding
grasses if they do not have access to live insects.
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. Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of
artificial nests. In a breeding cage they will use a half open wooden nest
- Nest: The cock bird
builds a spherical nest
made from grasses and has a side entrance. The hen lines the
with soft fine grasses such as Swamp grass or November grass.
- Who incubates the eggs:
Hen / cock / both share.
Moderate nest inspection is generally tolerated. In an aviary it is generally safe to leave
the young in the same aviary after they become fully independent. Young
birds (when they become fully independent) must be removed when bred in
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.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year 3 - 4. Eggs per nest 4 - 6. Incubation
approx. 14 days. Fledge approx. 21 days.
Independent approx. another 2 - 3 weeks. Both
parents feed the young. The young may return to the nest for about
one week after fledging.
Pair bonding is strong. Will hybridize with other mannikins
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.
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"
- Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep
updating your knowledge and skills.
Refer to references listed on "Book
References" web page.
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 33 No. 9 Sept 1979 Page 160-161
- A/A Vol 25 No. 7 Jul 1971 Page 85-86.
- A/A Vol 17 No 12 Dec 1963 Page 154-156.
- A/A Vol 15 No. 7 Jul 1961 Page 92.
- A/A Vol 15 No. 4 Apr 1961 Page 56-57.
- Australian Birdkeeper
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