Zebra Finch

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image: ZebraFinch.jpg

Common Name: Zebra Finch
Scientific Name: Taeniopygia guttata castanotis

Size: 4 to 4 ½ inches (10-12cm)

Habitat: Australia; found across the Australian mainland, with the exception of Cape York Peninsula and some coastal areas. They are also found in Timor and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Most commonly found in the drier areas of Australia, living year round in social flocks of up to 100 or more birds. They can be found in a variety of habitats, mainly dry wooded grasslands, bordering watercourses.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: Unknown. The introduction of artificial dams and water tanks has actually increased the Zebra Finch's natural range, as the birds need to drink on a regular basis

Diet: Seeds, primarily millet; occasionally fruit and insects. Feeding takes place on the ground in large flocks, and, unlike some other grassfinches, birds never pull seed heads down with their feet.

Breeding: Zebra Finch breeds after substantial rains in its native habitat, which can occur at any time of the year. Birds in captivity breed year-round. Wild birds are adaptable and varied in their nesting habits, with nests being found in cavities, scrub, low trees, bushes, on the ground, in termite hills, rabbit burrows, nests of other birds, and the in cracks, crevices, and ledges of human structures. 3-12 eggs are laid.Outside of the breeding time, brood nests are constructed for sleeping.

Cool Facts: Zebra Finches are sometimes used as avian model organisms. They are commonly used to study the auditory processing capabilities of the brain, due to their ability to recognize and process other Zebra Finches' songs. Their popularity as model organisms is also related to their prolific breeding, an adaptation to their usually dry environment. This ability also makes them popular as pet songbirds, and they are usually found at relatively inexpensive prices.

Zebra Finches also need a lot of calcium, especially as pets. Lack of calcium can be fatal to females when laying eggs. A cuttlebone in a cage helps to provide a healthier diet. Zebra finches can be tamed with patience when it’s the only bird in the cage.

Found in Pet Shop and Songbird ReMix Australia Volume III

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