There are many distinguishing factors about the Zebra Finch; the most primary being the rather amazing vocals displayed by this very beautiful bird. Finches are especially popular amongst breeders. The beauty of their vocals is such that it draws researchers to study their sounds in detail in order to judge the frequency and the pitch of the sound. Experts believe that they can be tamed very easily if handled when young.
Description and Distribution
The Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is one of the most common species of finches found mainly in Central Australia. This beautiful bird is native to Indonesia, and is also spotted in Puerto Rico, Portugal, and the U.S. On an average, they measure up to 10 cm, and have a plumage in shades of gray. The name Zebra Finch has probably been given due to the characteristic black and white markings on the upper area of its tail. The throat area has a pale gray shade, and the sides of its belly have a tint of chestnut. One can even notice many white spots on the sides of its belly. They have red eyes, and their feet are a mixture of orange and yellow. The male has chestnut colored patches on the cheek, unlike the female.
These tiny birds are commonly seen in the dry areas of Australia. They are also spotted in wooded grasslands that are close to water bodies. They are known to inhabit scattered bushes and trees. These birds generally avoid cool, moist areas.
Breeding takes place during the months of October to April. It is the female who makes the decision and selects the site for the nest. The male does all the primary work of collecting the material needed to build the nest, and is known to pull the leaves of a plant or strings for the same. The female constructs a dome-shaped nest. The male sometimes deposits material such as feathers or other items into the nest.
Generally, the female of this species lays around 3 - 12 eggs. Young ones hatch after a period of two weeks. Offspring may vary in terms of color; they may appear to be completely white or have a light shade of gray. The one prominent factor would be the orange color on the cheeks (this indicates a male Zebra Finch).
They are known for their typical sounds, and the interesting fact remains to be the different songs sung by every male. Their call can be aptly described as a beep, and a variety of tunes are composed with varied levels of these beeps. Males sing at puberty. While mating, males use a high-pitched sound. Young males emulate the male parent for the various vocal sounds.
They can consume a variety of fruit seeds and small insects. They also consume vegetables, fruits, ripening grass seeds, worms, etc. They are known to feed on the ground. They also help plants to reproduce naturally, because being messy eaters, they tend to drop seeds around.
Although these birds are popular as pets, they are best observed in the wild. A Zebra Finch would be the happiest in its natural environment.