Zebra Finch Reckless Kelly/Flickr

Zebra Finch

Taeniopygia guttata

Did You Know?

  • Zebra Finches pair for life
  • It is the most widespread finch in Australia
  • One of the fastest maturing bird species recorded with only 70 - 80 days from hatching to becoming sexually active
FactBox Image

The male is grey with a red bill, orange-tan cheeks and flanks. The flanks also have white spots. Its rump is white, and its tail is black with white bars. The female has a red bill, a black/white face and tail markings, and is otherwise grey.

Size

10 cm

Behaviour

Call

A loud nasal twanging “tiarr” and abrupt “tet tet” from flocks in flight.

Diet

It forages on the ground for fallen seeds rather than pulling down and stripping seeds from the heads of plants. It occasionally takes flying insects especially when feeding nestlings.

Flight

Bouncy and undulating.

Breeding

In the driest regions it is quick to nest after good rain. The female picks a nest site, usually low in a dense, thorny shrub or tree. The nest is a bulky, untidy, rounded dome with a deeply hooded side entrance. The clutch is normally 4 – 6 eggs and both sexes incubate the eggs for 12 -16 days and feed the nestlings.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Courting/Mating

  • Swooping

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • From June to December
  • Breeding time depends on the region: from June to September in northern Australia, from August to October in southern states, and even later in cooler regions
  • Eggs hatch three weeks after being laid
  • Young birds leave the nest when they are four weeks old

Where To Look

  • Throughout Australia, wherever there are trees next to open areas, including natural habitat, farming areas, country towns, suburbs, cities, parks, gardens, bushland areas, sporting ovals and golf courses
  • Not in very dense forests and arid deserts
  • The nests are found in the outer branches of trees and sometimes on power poles and the roofs of buildings, generally next to open space
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

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.