Crimson Finch
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Crimson finch
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  • An Australian Finch
  • Scientific Name:  Neochmia phaeton
  • Crimson finch - black bellied =  Neochmia phaeton phaeton
  • Crimson finch - white bellied =  Neochmia phaeton evangelinae
  • Sub Species: 2 or 3.  Some recognise a third sub-species N. p. albiventer
  • Origin / Distribution: Across top of Australia and part of New Guinea
  • Habitat In Wild: Open grasslands and lightly timbered areas but has also adapted well to farmlands and some urban areas. 
  • Status In Wild: Nominate sub-species is common but the other sub-species are listed as endangered.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Low
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  about 9 months of age
  • Adult plumage: attained after the first moult, about 4 - 6 months of age.
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd - 4th year
  • Lifespan (estimate):  about 5 - 6 years.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations: Yes
  • Availability:  Bird dealers
  • Temperament:  The Crimson finch can be an aggressive bird, particularly to other red coloured birds.  In a mixed finch collection, best breeding results are when only one pair of of Crimsons are kept in that aviary.  A single pair can be housed in a small aviary.  Care must be taken to ensure they do not hybridize with other species when housed in a mixed species collection.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal coloured...Black bellied = about $175, White bellied = about $750.
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 130 mm (or 5 inches)
  2. Colour ("normal" colour): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 11 - 12 gms (or less than 1/2 oz)

The Neochmia genus comprises the Crimson finch Neochmia phaeton,  the Red browed finch Neochmia temporalis,  The Star finch Neochmia ruficauda, and the Plum headed finch Neochmia modesta.

Aviary Notes:

Read notes on "Finches - Australian" web page and use in conjunction with details outlined on this page.

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to "Government Laws" page.

Housing Requirements: Click on "Housing birds" web page for general details on the housing of Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.

The Crimson finch can be housed in a large mixed species aviary.  A single pair can be housed in a small aviary.  A single pair can be housed indoors in a large canary cage or large breeding cabinet.

Some people report that the Crimson finch may be aggressive towards any other bird or birds that have red in their plumage.  The wild Crimson finches are not social birds and generally do not form a flock.  This behaviour shows up in the aviary as these birds usually do not do well when kept as a colony.  A single pair in a mixed species collection will usually breed well.
Crimson finches love to bathe.

Diet / Feeding: Click on "Feeding birds" web page for general details on the nutrition of Australian Finches or read on for specific details for this finch.

The Crimson finch requires a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses and some fruits (e.g. apple).  Live food is essential especially at breeding season.  Small mealworms and small crickets are ideal.  Sprouted or soaked seed if available.

Basic seed mix should include Canary seed, White French Millet, Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum.

Nesting: A basic overview only.

  • Roosting nest:  No
  • Nesting months: Depends upon where in Australia they are being bred.  Spring and early autumn usually gives good results.
  • Nesting receptacles: Both parents will make their nest in shrubs, dry brush such as tea tree, or artificial nest boxes.
  • Nest: Both parents build a dome shaped nest made with grasses.  Nest is lined with feathers and soft fine grasses. November and Swamp grass are ideal for lining the nest.
  • Who incubates the eggs: Hen / cock / both share.  Hen usually sits on the eggs overnight.

The Crimson finch nest is usually built in the higher parts of the aviary.

More details on finch nests and a selection of finch nest photos can be located on the "nests", "finch nests" and "finch nest photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "nests" then "finch nests" and "finch nests photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 3.  Eggs per nest 4 - 7.  Incubation approx 12 - 14 days.  Fledge approx. 21 days.  Independent approx. another 21 days.

Both parents feed the young.  Nest inspections are usually not tolerated.

Although they are sexually mature at about 9 months of age, it is better if the hens can be about 12 months of age prior to them laying.
Care must be taken to ensure the Crimson finch does not hybridize with other species when housed in a mixed species collection.  A single pair in a mixed species collection will usually breed well.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues: Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new birds or sick birds are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer above "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • A/A Vol 57 No. 8 Aug 2003 Page 178-179.
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 12 Dec 1999 Page 275-278 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 50 No. 5 May 1996 Page 106-109
  • A/A Vol 49 No. 8 Aug 1995  Page 186-189
  • A/A Vol 45 No. 4 Apr 1991 Page 83-86
  • A/A Vol 42 No. 9 Sept 1988 Page 221-226 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 32 No. 9 Sept 1978 Page 138-143 (Inc photos)
  • A/A Vol 31 No. 7 Jul 1977 Page 95
  • A/A Vol 29 No. 10 Oct 1975 Page 145-146
  • A/A Vol 22 No 4 Apr 1968 Page 64-66.
  • A/A Vol 21 No 6 Jun 1967 Page 86-87.
  • A/A Vol 16 No 11 Nov 1962 Page 152.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 8 Aug 1958 Page 97-99, 110 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 11 No 12 Dec 1957 Page 176-179.
  • A/A Vol 11 No 8 Aug 1957 Page 116.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 7 Jul 1955 Page 77-78.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 4 Apr 1954 Page 50-51.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 11 Nov 1953 Page 125-126.
  • A/A Vol  5 No 11 Nov 1951 Page 135-135.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
  • A/A Vol  1 No 4 Apr 1947.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 2005 Page 676-681 (What's genetically pure and what's not)
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 8. Apr-May 1991 Page 381-385
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1989 Page 435-438
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1989 Page 250-251

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