The Red-winged Pytilia
(Pytilia hypogrammica lopezi)
Suitability: These guys are another larger member of the Waxbill family and closely related to the Aurora finch.
The Red-headed form is virtually unknown outside Australia and rarely seen in the wild and have been given the scientific name of P.h.lopezi.
As a waxbill it means that livefood as well as seeds are recommended in order for them to be breed to their potential. They love seed mixes with small seeds such as those in our Taste of Africa line which were developed specifically for the Waxbill family.
Best kept as single pairs in the mixed collection as males will fight at times and this will cause disruption to your breeding.
Breeding: Will not breed without livefood and best results are achieved with a mixture of maggots, mealworms and termites. However, I have read that their husbandry is the same as for Auroras but have not found this to be the case.
Will construct their own nest with swamp grass, white and Emu feathers but their building prowess is legendarily bad! These guys will utilise a range of nest boxes and wicker baskets in which to breed in – given their own nest building this is to be encouraged!
Recommended: Given their present status I would suggest these are probably not the best species for the novice wanting to move up into the waxbill family rather for the experienced breeder these days. Their endearing nature also makes them popular with their keeper as does their habit of planting when you approach with their tail stuck up into the air – apparently they feel it makes them invisible! Pairs of these finches are very sensitive to nest inspection so make sure you know which category your pairs come under before attempting this!
They also appear to be in the softer basket and a regular worming and coccidial program is essential for these birds.
Mutations: None known. The Yellow-headed Pytilia is stated as the species whereas the Red-headed is called by some a ‘form’ of the yellow-wing. These Red-headed Pytilias will occasionally ‘throw back’ to the Yellow-headed birds. This makes many believe the Red-headed birds are ‘autosomal dominant’ to the yellow-headed birds but this is not supported by wild population dynamics. I suspect the influence of Aurora blood in the present state of genetics between these two forms.
Permits: A permit is not required to keep these finches in NSW.