The star finch, also known as red-faced finch, red-faced grass finch, rufous-tailed finch, ruficauda finch, is characterized by a red beak, with males having a larger face mask. Their numbers have reduced due to the cage-bird trade and they mostly exist in aviaries.
|Scientific name||Neochmia Ruficauda|
|Distribution||Northern and Western Australia|
|Habitat||Near rivers in regions of tall grasslands and bushes|
|Subspecies||Neochmia ruficauda subclarescens Neochmia ruficauda clarescens Neochmia ruficauda ruficauda|
|Color||Olive green, beige yellow with white dots like stars|
|Size||11cm to 12cm|
|Weight||10g to 13g|
|Diet||Ripe or half-ripe seeds|
|Lifespan||4 to 8 years|
|Egg hatching time||13 days|
|Clutch size||3 to 7|
|Fledging||15 to 21 days|
|Singing Ability||Found in males|
|Temperament||Active, Independent, Friendly|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Near Threatened|
- The different color mutations of this species include:
- Normal red head
- Normal yellow head
- Pied red head
- Pied yellow head
- Fawn red head
- Fawn yellow head
- Fawn pied red head
- Fawn pied yellow head
- Cinnamon red head
- Cinnamon yellow head
- Cinnamon pied red head
- Cinnamon pied yellow head
Star finch pet care
The pleasant temperament of this friendly, sociable species makes them excellent show birds and a popular choice for pets.
A large cage or a planted aviary is best suited for them, helping them to fly about easily. Soft wood or natural branches are a good option for a perch. The cage should have a half open nest box or one with an entrance hole though the finches prefer large wicker baskets to the box.
A clean paper should be placed at the bottom of the cage and changed on a daily basis. Grass and hay form good nest box substrates.
The star finches are sensitive to temperature changes and do not like cold, damp weather. They should be kept at a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. During breeding a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is best suited. They need proper sunlight, without which their feathers may become dull.
These active birds get along well with their own group as well as birds of other species provided they have a temperament similar to theirs. They are not shy to people and are good to be observed as well as appreciated.
Like most finches, they too thrive well on seeds. The Siberian, proso, Japanese and German millets are well suited for them. Their diet should also comprise of kale, broccoli tops, grated carrot, lettuce, chopped spinach and apples. Boiled egg or egg food, cuttlebone, and grit provides adequate nutrition. Fresh water should be provided at the foot of their cage on a regular basis.
These birds are easy to maintain. Their nails grow fast and should be trimmed on a regular basis.
These hardy birds seldom suffer from serious ailments. However, exposure to extreme cold may make them fall ill. They should be giving the worming treatment throughout the year. They may also have problems if their toenails are overgrown.
Depending on the mutation, star finches cost around $45-$75 in the US.
- While singing, the male star finch stretches its neck and fluffs its head.
- Though the young star finch leaves its nest after 17 days, they are still fed by the older birds about three more weeks till they become independent.