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Monday, February 21, 2011

Birds

Gouldian Finches are native to the northern region of the Australian tropics although, since the 1960’s, Australia has banned the exportation of animals from the country.  Although today the Gouldian Finch is endangered in its natural habitat, there are plenty still available as pets.

 These splendidly colored finches can have gray, red, or orange heads, blue or green backs, and are purple, white, or yellow underneath.  Their colors are so brilliant that they almost appear to be unnatural.  There are three varieties of Gouldian Finches that are naturally-occurring in color.  They are the black-headed (Poephila gouldiae), the red-headed (Poephila mirabilis) and the yellow-headed (Poephila armitiana).  Although these are the color varieties that are generally recognized, there can be any number of color combinations derived from these basic colorations including blue and yellow-bodied mutations.  The coloration of the male Gouldian Finch is much more brilliant than that of the female.  The male also has a noticeably longer center tail feather.
Arguably, Gouldian Finches are one of the most colorful birds in the world.   

Gouldian Finches are much more difficult to care for and breed than the heartier finch breeds like the Zebra and the Society Finches.  Gouldian Finches are not recommended for the novice bird owner who may have little or no experience with captive finches.  Gouldian Finches, like many other types of finches, do not like to be petted or held.  Those who would like a pet bird that can easily be finger tamed should probably stay away from the Gouldian Finch.  All finches are social and should be kept in one or more pairs in order to satisfy their need to be social.  Also, Gouldian Finches are easily disrupted by frequent changes in their housing environment or by movement of their cage.  When these birds undergo frequent stress, it can eventually lead to weakening in the birds’ resistance to disease. 

Finches are very active birds and this does not exclude the Gouldian Finch.  Whether they are in a cage or an aviary, they need the largest flying space out of any other finch species.  Although they are only between five and five and a half inches in size, they need a minimum flying space of about twenty inches.  Cages for housing Gouldian Finches can either be metal or wooden.  Just make sure that the space between cage bars is never greater than one-half inch to prevent injury and escape.  Brass cages are not recommended for Gouldian Finches because of the potential toxic qualities.  But most cages that are brass in color are not actually made of brass. 

 In addition to their quirky personalities and their bouncy energy, Gouldian Finch lovers also love to hear the background sounds these small birds make.  They have a beautiful soft chirp but, not all Gouldian Finches sing.  It is only the males that sing, and some better than others.  Although the care of the Gouldian Finch is a little bit more involved then some of the other finch species, their vibrant colors and their pleasant personalities make the care and involvement in the Gouldian Finches’ life wonderful.

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