Showing posts with label Gouldian Finch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gouldian Finch. Show all posts

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fact Sheet: GOULDIAN FINCH - Erythrura gouldiae

(Original Title: GOULDIAN FINCHES - Nature's Brilliant Rainbows)

Gouldian Finch @ Jurong Bird Park
Photo  by _paVan_ 
Introduction
The Gouldian Finch is one of the most colorful species of birds in the world. Gouldians originate from the tropical region of northern Australia. In the late 19th century, Gouldian Finches, also known as Lady Gouldian Finches, were exported to Great Britain where they were enthusiastically received. In 1960, Australia prohibited the exportation of these birds.

Description
Gouldian's plumage appears almost artificially brilliant such that their coloration seems unnatural. As with many species of birds, the plumage of the male Gouldian is more striking than that of the female. Gouldian finches are one of the easiest birds to sex, as each gender has a distinct pattern of feather colors. Additionally, the center tail feather of the male is longer than that of the female.
Juveniles also have quite distinctive colors and are naked and pink until they are about 12 days old. Interestingly, the beaks of young Gouldians have a phosphorescent blue bead on either side that allows their parents to see them in the dark.

There are three naturally occurring varieties of Gouldians - the black-crested, the red-crested, and the yellow-crested. In addition to the commonly recognized color varieties, there are a number of color sub-variants including blue and yellow-bodied mutations.

Behavior
All finches are social and Gouldians are no exception. They should be housed in one or more pairs to keep them emotionally healthy. Gouldian finches require a higher level of care than that their more laid back and hardier cousins, the Zebra Finch and Society Finch.

All finches are diurnal, which means they are active in the daytime. Offer your pet birds at least 8 hours of exposure to sunlight to provide them with essential vitamin D. In warm weather, put the cage outside as a special treat. And like all finches, Gouldian finches resist finger-taming or petting.

Feeding
Lady Gouldian finches require more vitamins, nutrients, and supplements in captivity than heartier finch breeds such as the Zebra and Society Finches. Diet consists of varieties of seeds, live food, and rock salt.These birds also require a good amount of protein and calcium, especially in breeding season. Mealworms and eggs are a good source of protein and can be kept in a feeding cup separate from that of their seed bowl. A second separate cup can be kept containing greens like lettuce and celery. As with all finches, grit is not needed, but calcium-rich cuttlebone is a must.

Cages and Aviaries
Gouldian finches are around five inches in size, but they need twenty inches minimum of horizontal flying space. The spacing between bars should not be over 1/2 inch in order to thwart escape attempts and reduce the chance of injury. These birds are well suited for either metal or wooden cages. But do not house your finches in brass cages. Brass is toxic to finches!

All finches enjoy bathing, and if given the opportunity will bathe up to three times a day. Place a small open dish of water in the bottom of their cage to help the birds maintain their skin and feathers.
Gouldians need warmth. The ideal indoor temperature for these birds is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause serious illness and even death.


Health Issues

Unlike hardier species of finches, frequent stress to Gouldians can weaken their resistance to disease. These birds are creatures of habit. When change is forced upon them they will become stressed and anxious. For instance, frequent cage movement can be very disruptive to them.

Two of the most prevalent health problems with Gouldians are air sac mites and Egg Binding.

Egg Binding is a serious problem that affects the female. Eggs get stuck in the birthing canal and the bird is unable to pass it. Symptoms include loss of appetite, weakness and sitting at the bottom of the cage. Egg Binding requires immediate attention.

Air sac mite infestation is a respiratory ailment that makes it difficult for the finch to properly breathe. This can lead to more serious illness and should be immediately treated by a veterinarian.
Streptococcus is another common finch disease. This illness is caused by a wound infection that did not heal properly. Symptoms of this disease include panting, listlessness, fluffing, weight loss and, in severe cases, seizures. Streptococcus is curable when treated at first at first sign of illness.
Breeding

Gouldian finches are somewhat difficult to breed and prefer a nest box placed in a breeding pair cage as opposed to nesting in their regular cage.

These birds breed and nest during the wintertime, so indoor heated housing is a must. As breeding season approaches, the tip of the male's beak will turn a bright cherry red. The pair produces four to six eggs during each mating cycle. One egg is laid per day.

Newly hatched chicks are pink and featherless until about 12 days old when the beginnings of feathers start to appear. Fledglings leave the nest at 3 weeks.

Female finches don't always stand by their man. Given the opportunity, they'll indulge in a promiscuous tryst with other males. This infidelity is not merely cold-hearted cheating. It's an evolutionary strategy that encourages dominant males to pass on their genes.


Conclusion
Gouldians have gorgeous plumage. Because of their brilliant feathers, they actually give the appearance of being artificial.

Though Gouldian Finches are officially listed as an endangered bird in Australia, they can be readily be purchased in Europe and North America. These birds are most comfortable in a stable housing environment with a minimum of cage movement to avoid stress.

It's recommended that prospective finch owners with little or no experience in finch care consider those hardier breeds such as the Society Finch or Zebra Finch over that of the Gouldian Finch.
Although the care of Gouldians is more involved than that of other finch species, enjoyment of their vibrant colors, quirky personalities, and bouncy energy makes a rewarding return on your investment in their welfare.

    By Daniel P. Ransom
    Daniel P. Ransom is a finch expert and enthusiast with over 20 years experience keeping and breeding many varieties of finches. He supplies local and regional pet shops and aviaries with healthy and happy finches.
    Article Source: EzineArticles


Sunday, July 16, 2017

GOULDIAN FINCH - Erythrura gouldiae

GOULDIAN FINCH - Erythrura gouldiae - Photo: Trisha Shears Wikimedia



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

GOULDIAN FINCH Care: 8 Important Tips

Northern Australia is the native habitat of the Gouldian Finch. The other names of the Gouldian finch are the Lady Gouldian Finch, Gould's Finch and the Rainbow Finch. Both sexes of the Gouldian family can be identified by their colors of bright yellows, tropical greens, and black. Red markings, usually on the cheeks, will also be seen. The best way to tell the difference between the female and the male is by what colour and/or patterns are on their chest. The males chest is a bright purple and the females' is a light mauve.

White-breasted Yellow-headed and Black-headed ...
White-breasted Yellow-headed and Black-headed male Gouldian Finches (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gouldian finches are more difficult to breed and care for than other types of finches and below I have outlined some useful tips you should consider:

1. Gouldian finches need a lot of space to exercise and fly about. You should consider whether to buy a cage or an aviary, this depends on the number of Gouldian finches that you have. After you decide on a cage or aviary, you should then choose a permanent location to keep these birds as they do not like changes in their location.

2. Gouldian finches like humid and warm conditions. These environmental settings should not be taken lightly so do make sure you provide the right conditions before choosing where to place them permanently.

3. Gouldian finches love seeds, which are their primary food source; therefore a nice mix of quality seeds should be given to them every day. You also need to provide additional nutrients and vitamins. Grit as well as crushed egg shells should be added to their daily diet. Lettuce, watercress and spinach (greens) also are necessary for a balanced diet. In addition your finches require calcium so providing Cuttlebone is a must; especially when breeding.

4. A clean cage or aviary is essential as it keeps the birds in healthy living conditions. The cages must be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis; usually monthly but more often if necessary. All containers in the cage or aviary should be cleaned daily and the gravel in the bottom of the cage should be replaced with clean gravel at least once a month (or more often if needed).

5. Fresh water should be available daily as stale water can attract bacteria and spread disease. Ideally you would clean the water container at the same time. Plastic containers are not ideal and should be avoided.

6. Gouldian finches are extremely sensitive about being touched and petted. Try not to handle them unless it's absolutely necessary as this stresses them out.

7. Gouldian's lay on average 4 to 6 eggs and these will hatch between 15 to 18 days after the egg has been laid. It is of the utmost importance that the breeding parents are not unnecessarily disturbed and extra food and clean water be provided each day. Try to use the hand feeding formula as well. The formula is a special diet that should be given to the parent birds. This should be done before the eggs hatch so that they get accustomed to the new diet. Once the chicks are hatched the parents will regurgitate this mix and feed the babies.



8. Never breed Gouldian finches which have a different head color. The reason being is that such a mating results in an imbalance in the sex ratio of the young. It's an interesting scientific concern that points to the mortality rates of the young which have been recorded as high as 80%. So this is why breeding Gouldian's of the same head color is recommended.

These important tips will require your additional research for a thorough understanding of the Gouldian finch's needs. Keeping finches is a satisfying and proud journey that I know you will enjoy in order to successfully care for these beautiful birds.

    By Ron W Shearer
    Ron Shearer is a keen finch enthusiast with a particular passion for Zebra Finches and his Australian Shepherd dog Mitzi.
    Article Source: EzineArticles