The Painted Firetail Finch
Suitability: These guys are a member of the Australian Firetail family and are renowned for their friendly nature and willingness to breed in the aviary. They can be kept as single pairs in the mixed collection or as a small colony and I tend to have them as the latter with little interference to other inhabitants. They will nest in a variety of spots and aren’t fussy where they build their nest! 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 well 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. They construct a platform of pebbles, shells and any other weighty materials upon which the nest will be built – this relates to their habit of nesting in very spiky Spinifex grasses in the wild! White and Emu feathers are relished as is cotton lintus. Greens grass strips are sometimes used for the external shell of the nest. Will use most types of nesting materials so supply plenty to avoid them scavenging other bird’s nests!
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.
Mutations: These guys are available in Yellow (where the red is replaced by yellow) and occasionally ones with fawn backs appear and rarer still is a silver blue mutation. I have also been shown some birds where the bird is completely black with no red areas. At present the aim of many is to breed a red-fronted type – this, I believe, is not so much a mutation but a type of un-natural selection on the part of finch breeders! However, these birds are striking and becoming available in fair numbers.
Permit: A permit is not required to keep these finches in NSW.