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BREEDING OWL FINCHES (Taeniopygia bichenovii)
Written by Lainey Claffin (Grasslands Exotic Finches)
Originally published in The NFSS Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 1. January – February 1996

Owl finches are cheerful, active, sociable birds  which bring added life to any finch collection. They do best in pairs or groups – a single Owl finch seems to become lonely very quickly – and they can be kept with other non-aggressive finch species. Like the Gouldian finch, the Owl is a native of Australia and, after several decades of domestication, it has adapted to captivity extremely well.

Most Owl finches breed readily in cages or aviaries, singly or in groups, and they will usually raise their own young. They use all kinds of nests and nesting material, and prefer private nest sites with branches etc. around the nest area. The only problem we have had in breeding Owl finches is that they don’t always feed their babies on their first couple of clutches. We often foster the first two clutches to Societies, after which the Owls seem to do much better.

Although juvenile Owls mature quickly, we feel that they should not be bred until they are six to nine months old. We use several methods for sexing Owls: the male sings and the female does not; the male usually has a thicker black chest band; and the male has more black above the beak.

Like our Zebra finches, we have not found any food our Owls won’t eat. They seem to enjoy one food as much as another.  Because they are so active, we make sure our Owls have lots of things to play with: rocks, swings, mirrors, branches, etc. It doesn’t take much to make these birds happy, and it is well worth the effort.

As far as we know there is only one book devoted entirely to Owl finches: Bicheno Finches – Their Care and Breeding by A.J. Mobbs. It is now out of print.

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Last updated: January 24, 2006