The Redbrow Finch
Suitability: These guys are still considered by some to be a member of the Australian Firetail family while others have classed them as our only true Waxbill representative. To those in NSW they are simply called Reddies!
They can be kept as single pairs in the mixed collection or as a small colony and I have seen them as both ways with little in the way of interference to other inhabitants. They will nest in a variety of spots but seem to prefer to nest in growing trees. 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.
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 I have heard of few that have used nest boxes, wire baskets and the likes. As previously mentioned the nest can be large given the small size of the Redbrow – so ensure plenty of nesting material is available at all times!
Recommended: These finches suit both the beginner and the long-timer! Their nature must be said to be fairly secretive and they are not as readily bred in aviaries as some of the other commoner species.
A good worming and coccidian regime is also recommended. Also when moving this species we advise keeping them on some electrolyte replacer 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 only available as the occasionally Pied bird and this mutation has not been fully developed yet.
Permit: A permit is required to keep these finches in NSW.