A bird owner's guide to the finch

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The finch is a member of the passerine or "perching bird" group and is one of the most popular bird species with pet owners. Easy to care for, finches make excellent pets for first-time bird owners. Check your local pet store to get acquainted with the wide variety of exotic finches that's available, including the striking purple finch, highly sought-after zebra finches and colorful Gouldian finches.

Origins and Natural Habitat

Finches are found in many regions of the world, with their natural habitats varying from the arid deserts of Australia and the jungles of Africa to more temperate climates throughout the Northern Hemisphere. All variants of the finch species have developed 12 tail feathers and 9 primary feathers and are strong gliders.

Appearance and Characteristics

Size: Finches range considerably in size. The smallest is the Andean Siskin finch, which averages 3.8 inches from beak to tail. The largest is the collared grosbeak, which grows to about 9 inches in length. Most domestic finches that are kept as pets, including the zebra finch and Gouldian finches, are in the middle of this size range.

Plumage: Feather coloring ranges considerably from variant to variant. Zebra finches display plumage ranging from black-breasted or orange-breasted with gray cheeks and vibrant cresting to recessive silver feathering and penguin-like patterns. Gouldian finches usually have solid-colored primary feathers that include a rich rainbow of hues. The purple finch is named for the dominant color of its plumage.

Song/Chirp: Finches are songbirds. The song of a finch bird is cheerful, with warbling lasting several seconds. Males will sing longer in the presence of females. The song of a finch is normally punctuated with a descending note.


It's important not to cage finches with birds of other species, as they have unique dietary requirements and may suffer injuries from competitive infighting due to their small size. However, they are social animals, and thrive when caged with at least one other finch. While they're more resistant of direct human contact than species like the parakeet, they will show excitement through singing and fluttering when a favorite person enters the room.

Health and Care

Feeding: Finches have active metabolisms and need to consume approximately 30 percent of their body weight in food each day. Limiting these birds to seed-only diets can cause illnesses, as they need proteins, vitamins and minerals that aren't present in high enough quantities in basic seed formulations. Choose enriched seeds, or supplement regular feed with a mix of boiled eggs and crushed eggshells, along with vegetables and fruits.

Grooming: Provide your pet with a bathing dish and trim its nails when necessary. Otherwise, these birds will look after their grooming needs on their own.

Health Concerns: The cages of all pet birds need to be kept clean of droppings to prevent sickness and infection. Cage disinfection should be performed at least once a month. These birds are also sensitive to the stress caused by loud noise and high activity levels around them, which can worsen any illnesses they may develop.

Life Expectancy: Captive finches normally survive 5 to 15 years, though 6 years is an average lifespan.

Finding Finches for Sale

Look for stores that specialize in avian pets, which will offer a wider variety of finches for sale, including a broad selection of exotic finches that appeal to pet owners seeking unique and colorful birds.

While the birds themselves are relatively inexpensive, costing between $10 and $40 for a pair, it's important to budget for a proper cage that gives these birds enough room to stretch their wings. Expect to spend at least $50 to $100 on a bird cage and about $15 a month on feed, bird toys and accessories.

Posted by Robert calchi on November 20,2016 at 10:28 AM
My male Finch lost its female by getting his foot caught on the nest I went out and bought another female and it seems the mail don't want to go in the nest and the new female chases the male around also noticed that there are three eggs in the nest from the female what should I do
Posted by Jordan on October 14,2016 at 08:16 AM
Posted by Spencer on August 01,2016 at 02:53 AM
Me pet finch is really sick and I don't know why, I found her on the bottom of the cage, I even nudge her and she didn't fly away, I took her out of the cage along with some food and water for her, and now she just recently started thrashing her head back and now she is just laying with her head on her back and I don't know what to do and what's wrong with her, can someone help please?
Posted by maryann on December 02,2012 at 06:36 PM
Is a 13"x14"x40" flight cage big enough to hold 10 finches?
Posted by ideelynncreations on October 08,2012 at 11:44 AM
I have 1 society finch that I purchased 4 days ago. I was attracted to this bird because when I was by the finch cage he turned his head when I spoke. He was not coupling up any other finch like the rest. He was more or less flying all by himself in the cage. I took this as an indication that he's a loner. I put a toy mirror in the cage and he chirps and puts his foot on the mirror and fights with his reflection. Then jumps back and sings so sweetly and poops. Gets all puffed up and goes to eat. He's very attentive to me and let's me put my hand in the cage and he might even put a foot on my finger. I move his cage wherever I'll be and when on the computer he is curiously watching my fingers and the monitor when I type. I have 2 male parakeets (in a different cage) and they chirp all the time. The finch has started to finch-chirp once to the their chirp. I hear a short song so maybe she's a he. My question is: DO I HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER FINCH? Will anyone send me an email and let me know if he's behavior fighting with the bird in the mirror is indicative to just wanting to be alone or not. THANKS IDEELYNN. Email:
Posted by Bobby on September 19,2012 at 04:56 PM
My neighbor leaves her three finches in a cage for hours during the day. I think the hot sun could be bad for them. Is it bad to leave them out for 10-12 hours?
Posted by Samuel on July 28,2012 at 11:38 PM
Why is it that both of my baby zebra finches have fat yellow necks
Posted by Jennifergarcia12 on November 13,2012 at 10:34 PM
This natural behavior it's just because he wants to keep her in the cage he doesn't wan to go in and take care of them just make sure it's not happening often when she lays eggs
Posted by Diane on January 23,2012 at 10:15 AM
I have a pair of zibra finches ,since the female,sometimes very violent, has laid her eggs the male always seems to be chasing her around the cage and pecking on her ,is this a problem or normal behavior ,i fear for her. ty
Posted by Karen Woll on October 20,2011 at 04:52 PM
Do I need to take the male finch out of the cage once the eggs have hatched to avoid the male from eating the babies?
Posted by Tracy on February 27,2012 at 09:32 AM
I have a pair of finches that recently had babies which was unexpectantly. Apparently the male didn't need to be taken out. I noticed that both of them spent alot of time in their nest. i didn't think anothing of it because of my other set of birds that did the samething but never hatched any eggs. I hope that this helped you. Good luck.
Posted by Molly on October 09,2011 at 02:10 PM
I have two zebra finches and guess what, since June 2011 till today she layed 35 eggs @_@ and no babies yet :(( I was so happy at first I thought I might see the baby one !! But no ....I had her since June and day after i had her she is been laying eggs !! And some of eggs she is eating this case what should I do ....
Posted by Tyler on October 01,2011 at 12:43 AM
Hey guys i have a 4 day old baby zebra finch who ive been hand feeding myself since the parents wont do it! i wanted to know when his feathers or little fluffys will come in i look at pictures on the internet and they are all fluff but mine has none any ideas? and when will he start to make noise im clueless this is the first time that ive ever hand birds that were breeding!
Posted by becca on January 29,2011 at 12:12 PM
well my zebra finchs first egg hatched one day ago and i want to pick it up put im scared that finches have a keen sense of smell is it safe for me to pick up the baby or will the mom abandon it?? please help thanks!! :] p.s. what should i give the finches to eat now that they are born??
Posted by Tyler on October 01,2011 at 12:40 AM
yes it's okay if you pick him up i have to do it with mine all the time because the parents wont feed them and i put them back and the mom and dad go right back to sitting on him
Posted by Evil Catfish on December 23,2010 at 04:00 PM
how often do you have to turn finch eggs? i have four little eggs without parents and i am clueless. :(
Posted by Evil Catfish on December 23,2010 at 03:57 PM
how often do you have to turn finch eggs? I have four little eggs without parents and i am clueless.
Posted by me on February 06,2011 at 12:40 AM
good luck-really, it's hard to be finch mommie. i understand the hardly ever make it. get a socity female she will take care of them. go to they helped me a lot. i have my first babies
Posted by Manpreet on December 15,2010 at 11:43 PM
what does the zebra finches do to the egg when the baby finch is born?
Posted by Janet on November 17,2010 at 12:47 PM
I have a waxbilled finch w/tail feather problems.... they r sparse & now the bird is has been sitting on the floor of the gage for 2days... is still eating but is unable to fly? Any suggestions?
Posted by TRACY on November 07,2010 at 05:38 PM
Posted by CHRISTINA on October 19,2010 at 09:02 PM
My little girl has 3 finches and one of them is not comming out of the nest... and there is no eggs in there so i know it is not that. I noticed the poo was very green, i dont know if that means anything.. i even put my hand in the cage and it let me pet him.. i really hope i didnt do anything wrong and the bird is ok... what do you think
Posted by jewel on October 26,2010 at 10:45 PM
ok first you cant tuch them or the mother will not care for them
Posted by Evil Catfish on December 26,2010 at 06:32 PM
thats just an old wives tale. the mother does not care about whether ur scent is on them or not
Posted by Josie on October 02,2010 at 04:26 PM
My finch just laid three eggs in three days. do I need to do anything differently for them than I already do? will they be okay taking care of the babies by themselves?
Posted by jewel on October 09,2010 at 02:20 PM
Posted by marsha jones on September 23,2010 at 03:32 PM
how long does it take for a finch egg to hatch??
Posted by Evil Catfish on December 23,2010 at 04:02 PM
I heard it takes 2 or more weeks
Posted by jewel on September 27,2010 at 09:07 PM
14 to 16 days
Posted by jewel on September 15,2010 at 06:14 PM
how long dose it take for a baby finch to leave mom and dad
Posted by kayla on June 22,2012 at 07:35 AM
about a week
Posted by jewel on September 15,2010 at 07:59 PM
ples people i need help
Posted by Gillian Abbott on September 05,2010 at 08:55 PM
Does anyone have a gouldian finch or owl finch for sale?
Posted by jewel on September 15,2010 at 06:16 PM
i have 6 unhated zebra finches of sale 5$ each
Posted by Emily on September 04,2010 at 10:14 AM
What is the memory span of a finch?!?!?!?
Posted by Emily on September 04,2010 at 10:23 AM
Posted by Tex on July 04,2010 at 05:42 PM
I just got zebra finches 4 of them and I'm trying to breed them how long does it take for them to have babies?P.S 2boys and 2 girls
Posted by latysha on April 16,2010 at 01:49 PM
i have three finch birds...mother layed eggs few months ago.....the eggs have hatch i need to know how to take care of baby has fell to the bottom of the cage i took it out and put it back with the not sure how to care for them...if any advice pls relply and help me...thank you!!!!
Posted by Evil Catfish on December 23,2010 at 04:04 PM
You can try feeding it with an eyedropper and some baby applesauce
Posted by Mary Hubbard on March 09,2010 at 08:38 PM
Is there a finch called a love finch, if so what does it look like?
Posted by Mary on February 26,2010 at 11:22 AM
Can different types of finches be chaged together, like Ziber and gouldian fences
Posted by judy on September 30,2010 at 10:16 PM
I have 1 society finch, 2 zebra finches (1 male & 1 female) & 3 Gouldians (1 female & 2 Males) all in the same cage.. The zebra male does show dominance over the society but all in all they all live together happily...
Posted by Mary on February 26,2010 at 11:28 AM
How old is a gouldian finch have to be to start singing, to be able to sex them?
Posted by wendi on January 24,2010 at 08:51 PM
I am new to zebra finches. but love birds and truly enjoying they chirp and singing at me...I am looking to buy a large decorative type cage for then so i can move them to my family room. the cage has 5/8" spacing...will they slip threw? do not want them to become cat food. although my cat learned quickly to leave them alone. wendi
Posted by lana beverly on January 17,2010 at 09:29 PM
I have a society female finch who has stoped laying eggs 2 days ago and a male zebra finch. they are taking very good care of the eggs. i got vitamin drops for the water and the seed and she has a coddel bone. these are the first finches i ever owned and she has layed 7 eggs. she stopped laying the last egg on 1-16-2010 this is the first time she has layied eggs. how long will it take for them to hatch i have seen them mating. also with this being her her first clutch of eggs will she feed them or do i need to watch and make sure the babies get fed. and does the father help out?
Posted by audra on January 29,2010 at 07:29 PM
after my birds lay there eggs its usually 18 days for the first one to hatch if they do not hatch give at least two more weeks after that throw the eggs away this is how my birds are
Posted by jones on January 19,2010 at 07:07 PM
cuttlebone from the cuttlefish, relative of octupi and squid. lay---laid
Posted by juanita on December 16,2009 at 06:12 PM
can finches and parkets live in same cage
Posted by Dana on September 18,2011 at 12:56 PM
I'm no expert, but I've been told no--the parakeets are too aggressive and may injure or kill the finch.
Posted by Noel on December 05,2009 at 10:05 AM
I am trying to determine how can you till which is male or female
Posted by Anne Jolley on March 22,2010 at 08:23 PM
we get different answers on how to know a male from a female. We have 10 finches, & we have had one babie that we know so far. Anne...:-)
Posted by Mary on February 26,2010 at 11:20 AM
I have gouldian fences, colors not yet in, how old do they have to be to get their color and how to sex?
Posted by audra on January 29,2010 at 07:33 PM
well zebras the male sings and your regular colored ones have orange patches and a dark red on there becks society the only way you can tell is threw song and then just getting to now them
Posted by sharon on July 20,2010 at 10:42 PM
About telling which is male and female....Is the male the only one that makes any type of song or noise?....we recently adopted 2, we were told they were a pair (male and female)...Once settled into thier cage, how long does it take for them to start making a nest?...Is this done by only one of them or do both help to make a nest?...Also, when we got them, feathers had been plucked around the back of the neck of them both...why did they do this?...Any advice you can give will b appreciated...Thank you, Sharon
Posted by Frankie on December 08,2009 at 01:18 PM
Males sing and females do not
Posted by lisa on October 07,2009 at 10:03 PM
I 'm looking to buy finches, health is bad I stay home i love birds i had alot before but got rid of them please help me may God bless you
Posted by audra on January 29,2010 at 07:37 PM
where abouts are you i have zebra and society finches for sale and have more around may
Posted by stella on September 19,2009 at 03:28 PM
can you breed society finches with zebra finches
Posted by Mary on February 26,2010 at 11:25 AM
Will a white zebra fince breed with a gouldian finch?
Posted by audr on January 29,2010 at 07:39 PM
people have but its not wise after they have there babys the babies will not be able to be parents
Posted by Frankie on December 08,2009 at 01:16 PM
Yes it would be called a zociety finch
Posted by bonnie on August 24,2009 at 01:18 PM
can you put austral star finch with zebra
Posted by Frankie on December 08,2009 at 01:23 PM
Yes i have a huge cage with many diffrent types including those two
Posted by frank shapira on August 19,2009 at 08:05 PM
Can different types of finches be caged together? If not all types, which can be caged together and which cannot?
Posted by ZebraRisk on March 17,2012 at 03:17 AM
Finches egg laying or not how to conform ?
Posted by Frankie on December 08,2009 at 01:25 PM
Yes i have 8 types of finches and 1 parakeet in the same cage
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