Finches are beautifully plumed passerine birds that originally came to Europe from Africa and Australia. Not only are they a true pleasure to look at, they are also great company and can enliven our lives in a myriad of ways. Let’s find out why.
WHY KEEP A FINCH
Aside from being beautiful, they are really great house guests. Being small they take up little space and so they don’t need to live in homes with large rooms. They do, of course, need the right amount of space, but their cages don’t have to be huge.
Small and very colourful, they are lively birds that don’t make too much noise. Their call is a low volume one and, thanks to this particular characteristic, they are ideal for those who live in close contact with their neighbours, like anyone that lives in an apartment building. Not only, but they are easy to care for as they don’t have any special needs and, no less important, they are not at all expensive (anywhere from 10 to 15 euro). All of these factors have made finches one of the most popular of exotic bird species to keep at home.
THE MOST COMMON SPECIES
There are many varieties of finches, and many other types of birds are easily mistaken for finches, including similar-looking waxbills, several groups of the bunting and American Sparrow family, Darwin’s finches, and strawberry finches (Amandava Amandava) from South-Eastern Asia, the first species to be imported.
The most popular of the real finch species, those most commonly found in homes, are the Zebra finch, Gouldian finch and Japanese grosbeak, but the list of types of finches is long and includes Eurasian rosefinches, Crimson-winged finches and African canaries, serins and siskins, just to name a few.
HAVING A FINCH AT HOME
Finches are not especially delicate birds and live out of doors in most parts of the world, as long as their cages are protected from constant breeze, rainfall and low temperatures. They are hardy little creatures that enjoy climates of from 10° to 30°C, but it’s best not to subject them to extreme temperature changes nor excessive humidity, which could cause respiratory problems. The best place for them to live is in a dry, warm and well-lit area.
Finches are very social creatures and love being together. They have a marked sexual dimorphism, that is, the males are very different from the females, so it is easy to distinguish genders. The males are, as often happens in nature, the more brightly coloured of the species.
Whatever you decide, make sure the birds you buy are in good health before you take them home with you. Here are a few tips on how to recognise a healthy bird:
- the plumage is flat over the body, clean and orderly
- bright, open and not humid eyes
- clean nose, free of mucous
- no crusting on the beak or claws
- the bird is lively and energetic.
Now all you have to do is get the right cage to house the number of finches you would like to take care of, perhaps equipped with a little pond in which they can splash about, and get ready to host your new small and colourful little friends.