The Masked Finch
Suitability: These guys are another member of the Grassfinch family and are slightly less flamboyant than the Longtail and Parson but are in welcome inclusions in the aviary. These guys can be kept as single pairs in the mixed collection or even as a small colony as they appear to do better when able to indulge their social behaviours and will not interfere with other species like their cousins! A standard finch mix, such as Golden Cobb, will be readily taken and they are fairly indifferent to livefood but the extra protein is relished by some pairs. However, livefood is not as critical as for some finches.
Do well on half-ripe green feed and relish the addition of most green feed to their diet especially when breeding.
This species has another Race – the White-eared Mask. These are rarely available and have a tendency to be soft.
Breeding: Construct their own nestin the Tea-tree on most occasions and rarely use any type of nest boxes. White and Emu feathers are relished. Like to use some greens grass strips for the external shell of the nest. They will use most types of available nesting materials so remember to supply plenty of variety to keep them happy – dried Pampas grass heads are another good fall-back. They also have a habit of taking large quantities of charcoal on to the nest and this will trigger some pairs to breed.
Recommended: These finchessuit both the beginner and the long-timer! Their nature and displays are such that they endear themselves to the finch keeper.
When moved these finches tend to scour and this can be remedied by giving them electrolyte mixes in the water prior to moving them. A good worming regime is also recommended.
Mutations: The only one I have seen in Australia is the white form which, to me, is about as inspiring as a white zebra finch!! These are rarely offered and can command high prices.
Permit: A permit is required to keep these finches in NSW.