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

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. Spice finch
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  • Scientific Name:  Lonchura punctulata
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: 12
  • 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 areas.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure, but has low popularity.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about - months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  2nd - 6th.
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 8 - 10 years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • 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.
  1. Length: Approx. 110 mm (or approx 4.5 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.

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 finch.

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.

Nesting:  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 box.
  • Nest:  The cock bird builds a spherical nest made from grasses and has a side entrance.  The hen lines the nest 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 a cage.

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 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 and Munias.

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 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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