Diamond Sparrow or Diamond Firetail
Suitability: These guys are a member of the Australian Firetail family and are renowned for their striking appearance and willingness to breed in the aviary and perhaps better known here as the Diamond sparrow. They can be kept as single pairs in the mixed collection or as a small colony and I have them as both ways as some pairs can interference with other inhabitants. They will nest in a variety of spots and aren’t fussy as to what they shove into their nest! The structure is made of long green grass strips on the outside with a nesting chamber composed of white and Emu feathers, cotton wool and dried Pampas grass heads. The nest usually has a distinctive tunnel on the front.
A standard finch mix, such as Golden Cob, will be readily taken and their interest in live food is variable but the extra protein is relished by most pairs when breeding.
However, live food is not as critical as for some finches.
Do far better on half-ripe green feed and relish the addition of most green feed to their diet especially when breeding.
Breeding: Construct their own nest on most occasions in the Tea-tree and a few will use nest boxes, wire baskets and the likes. As previously mentioned the nest resembles a football at times – so ensure a large volume of nesting material at all times!
Recommended: These finches suit both the beginner and the long-timer! Their nature and displays are such that they endear themselves to the finch keeper regardless of their time in finches!
As they spend a great deal of time on the ground a good worming and coccidian regime is also recommended. Also when moving this species we advise keeping them on some electrolyte replacement or Vita B compound before, during and after transport as they scour easily and, if left untreated, it can often be fatal.
Mutations: These guys are available in Yellow (where the red is replaced by yellow), Fawn (a sex-linked mutation) and occasionally Pied ones are seen although this may sometimes be due more to age than a genuine mutation!
White individuals occur spasmodically but have yet to be established in Australia.
Permit: A permit is required to keep these finches in NSW.