Tri coloured Nun
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Tri coloured nun
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  • Scientific Name:  Lonchura malacca malacca
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: Many.
  • Origin / Distribution:  India and Sri Lanka
  • Habitat In Wild:  Tall grasses and reeds. Wet tropical environment and has adapted to farmlands such as rice paddies and sugar cane farms.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 6 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about 6 - 12 months.
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  2nd - 5th year
  • Lifespan (estimate):  up to 8 years.
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 12 months to 5 years.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  No
  • Availability:  Bird dealers.
  • Temperament:  Docile, hardy, long lived bird.  They are social birds that like to live in a flock and fond of company of their own species.  They can be kept as a colony or as a single pair in a mixed finch collection.  They adapt well to Canary breeding size indoor cages as well as a planted aviary and are good as a beginners bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $80
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 115 mm (or about 4.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 20 gms (or about 2/3 oz)

Black headed Nun, Silver headed Nun or the Tri coloured Nun have similar husbandry requirements.

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.

In a planted aviary, plants similar to their natural environment include tall growing grasses, reed like plants, shrubs and pots of small bamboo.  Growing seeding grasses are eagerly consumed.

They are generally suitable for a mixed species finch collection.  They can be bred in a cage or cabinet but the results may be less than those housed and bred in an outdoor aviary.

They can be bred as a colony of Tri coloured nuns.  In a colony the dominant pair will be the most productive with the least dominant bird often not producing any nests or young.

Do not house Black headed Nun, Silver headed Nun or the Tri coloured Nun in the same aviary as they may hybridize.

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.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.  Live food is not essential but is beneficial especially during breeding season.

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 but may breed year round if conditions are suitable.
  • Nesting receptacles:  Both parents will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush.  Equally it will build a nest in a wide variety of artificial nests.
  • Nest:  The pair make a dome shaped nest from grasses.  Nest is lined with soft fine grasses.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.

Nest inspections are generally well tolerated however some pairs may may be distressed after a nest inspection.

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 - 7.  Incubation approx. 14 days.  Fledge approx. 21 - 24 days.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.  The young may return to the nest for the first week.

First official breeding in South Australia was in 1937 by Mr. V. J. Duignan.

Do not house Black headed Nun, Silver headed Nun or the Tri coloured Nun in the same aviary as they may hybridize.

Although a good beginner's bird, expert opinion may be required to accurately determine the sex of each bird.  Although the hen may be capable of laying before it has fully coloured, it is preferable to allow the hens to fully mature and best long term results are from hens that are about 12 months of age prior to commencing breeding.

The young may be left in an aviary with the parent birds if there is adequate room available.  The parent birds will usually tolerate the young independent birds and not cause them any harm.  The hen may start laying another clutch of eggs while the young are still being fed by the cock bird.  Fully independent young should always be removed when they are bred in a cage or a small aviary.

Adequate new nest material must be available for the hen to rebuild the old nest or build a new nest for the next clutch.

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 44 No. 12 Dec 1990 Page 322-326 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 29 No. 12 Dec 1975 Page 180-185 (Inc photos)
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 9 Sept 1960 Page 125-126.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 6 Jun 1949 Page 62 (First breeding in SA).
  • Australian Birdkeeper

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