. Diamond firetail finch
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- An Australian Finch
- Scientific Name: Emblema guttata,
(previously Stagonopleura guttata)
- Common Name/s:
DIAMOND FIRETAIL FINCH, DIAMOND FINCH, DIAMOND SPARROW.
- Sub Species: None
- Origin / Distribution:
Southern Queensland down east coast through New South Wales,
Victoria and parts of South Australia.
- Habitat In Wild: Eucalypt
forest and woodland and mallee country. Will inhabit farmlands
and grasslands. Spends significant amount of time on the
ground finding seeds and insects.
- Status In Wild: Declining.
Loss of suitable habitat may be one of the causes of population
decline. Listed as near threatened.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
- Age To Sexual Maturity: 9 - 12
months. They form pair bonds early, usually before reaching
sexual maturity. Hens have been known to breed as early as 5
months of age, but this should be avoided..
- Adult plumage: attained at about 4
months of age.
- Best breeding years (estimate):
12 months - 5th year
- Lifespan (estimate): 7 or
more years. Sometimes up to 10 years.
- Sexing: Monomorphic
(Difficult to sex)
- Mutations: Yes. Pure "normal"
colour birds are still readily available.
- Availability: Bird dealers
- Temperament: Popular bird.
Attractive bird. Best
as a single pair in a mixed collection but can be kept as a colony
in a larger aviary. Generally a good breeder and may breed
throughout the year. Generally
poor breeding results occur when housed in a cage or cabinet.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx) $100
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Approx. 120 mm (or about 5 inches)
- Colour ("normal" colour): Refer
photo/s above if available.
- Weight: Approx. 20 gms (or 2/3 oz)
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.
A fully roofed aviary is preferred. Best results are achieved in a planted
aviary. Generally poor breeding results occur when housed in a
cabinet / cage.
Can be housed as a colony in a large planted aviary. They can be
included safely in a mixed species finch collection.
The Diamond Firetail prefers a large
planted aviary but they can be bred in a Canary style breeder cage of
about 900mm long x 400mm high x 400mm deep (36 x 16 x 16 inches).
Only one breeding pair per cage.
In an aviary, some birds can become very
territorial especially around their nest area.
Aggression between pairs can occur in a
colony situation. One bird or pair can become dominant and cause
stress to the other less dominant birds.
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
The Diamond firetail finch requires a good quality finch mix, seeding grasses
and some fruits (e.g. apple) and green leafy vegetables. Live food is
essential especially at breeding season. Mealworms, small
cockroaches and small crickets are commonly
used. Sprouted or soaked seed if available. Niger seed and hulled oats
can be offered. Seeding grasses are an important part of the diet
during the breeding season and usually gives better, healthier young.
Green leafy vegetables can include silverbeet, cos lettuce and endive.
Basic seed mix should include Canary
seed, White French Millet, Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum.
In the wild the Diamond firetail finch birds will forage for
foods, insects and seeds on the ground. This habit continues in
A basic overview only.
- Roosting nest: Yes
- Nesting months: Spring to
Autumn. May breed throughout the year if conditions
- Nesting receptacles:
The Diamond firetail finch will build a nest in a shrub or dry brush such as tea tree.
Will use half open nest boxes and other commercially available
- Nest: Compared with
most finches they build a large nest. The nest is made from grasses and
other pliable materials and has
an entrance tunnel. Nest is lined with feathers and soft fine
grasses such as Swamp or November grasses.
- Who incubates the eggs:
Hen / cock / both share.
Generally intolerant of nest inspections.
Nests are usually reused so adequate new nest material must be available
for the parents to rebuild or reline the nest for the next clutch.
Nests are usually in the upper half of
the aviary. They may build a communal roosting nest in the non
breeding season. These nests are usually less sturdy than a nest
and does not have an entrance tunnel.
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.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year 3. Eggs per nest 4 - 7. Incubation
approx 14 days. Fledge approx. 21 - 23 days.
Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks. The young may return to the nest for
about one week after fledging. The young are usually well
feathered when they leave the nest.
Both parents will feed the young after
they leave the nest. Hen may start to lay another clutch of eggs
while the cock bird is still feeding the young. Usually safe to leave the young in the
aviary with the parent birds.
The Diamond firetail finches tend to pair bond at an early age.
Pair bonding is strong. Best breeding results are achieved by pairing up juvenile birds.
Adults can be paired up with a new mate
If breeding in a colony, the dominant
pairs may breed but the less dominant pairs may produce less young or fail to breed. A
single pair of Diamond firetail finches per aviary in a mixed species collection will eliminate this problem.
The Diamond firetail finch hen should be allowed time to fully
mature before commencing breeding. Best results are achieved if the hen
is 9 - 12 months old prior to starting breeding.
Generally a good breeder and may breed throughout the year. Restrict breeding pairs to no more than 3 clutches per breeding
season. This is also applicable when breeding these birds in an
indoor room. These birds may breed year round if conditions are
As with most insect eating finches, the increased consumption of
livefoods is a good indication that there is young in the nest.
The young can usually be heard when they are about 3 days of age.
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.
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.
Refer to references listed on "Book
References" web page.
- A/A Vol 59 No. 12 Dec 2005 Page 277-281.
- A/A Vol 57 No 6 June 2003 Page 132-133.
- A/A Vol 54 No 2 Feb 2000 Page 30-35 (Inc photo)
- A/A Vol 48 No 11 Nov 1994 Page 267-269
- A/A Vol 42 No. 6 Jun 1988 Page
- A/A Vol 41 No. 7 Jul 1987 Page 173-175
- A/A Vol 36 No. 2
Feb 1982 Page 30-35
- A/A Vol 35 No. 1 Jan 1981 Page 14-27
- A/A Vol 34 No. 6 Jun 1980 Page 106-108
- A/A Vol 34 No. 1 Jan 1980 Page 12-19
- A/A Vol 33 No. 8 Aug 1979 Page 133-134
- A/A Vol 32 No. 7 Jul 1978 Page 104-107
- A/A Vol 27 No. 6 Jun 1973 Page 90-91
- A/A Vol 26 No. 9
Sept 1972 Page 149-150
- A/A Vol 25 No. 3 Mar 1971 Page 29-30.
- A/A Vol 22 No 4 Apr 1968 Page 67-70.
- A/A Vol 13 No 8 Aug 1959 Page 109-111, 122-124 (Inc colour
- A/A Vol 13 No 5 May 1959 Page 74.
- A/A Vol 13 No 3 Mar 1959 Page 44-47.
- A/A Vol 11 No 7 Jul 1957 Page 102.
- A/A Vol 10 No 1 Jan 1956 Page 1-2.
- A/A Vol 8 No 2 Feb 1954 Page 18-19.
- A/A Vol 7 No 10 Oct 1953 Page 122-123.
- A/A Vol 5 No 1 Jan 1951 Page 11.
- A/A Vol 4 No 4 Apr 1950 Page 52.
- A/A Vol 3 No 12 Dec 1949 Page 131.
- A/A Vol 3 No 9 Sept 1949 Page 98 (Sexing Aust. finches).
- The Bulletin No 2, July 1942 Page
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 15 Issue 6. Dec-Jan 2003 Page 328-330.
- ABK Vol 13 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 2000 Page 204-207.
- ABK Vol 4 Issue 8. Apr-May 1991 Page 381-385
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1989 Page 435-438
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