Scientific Name: Stizoptera bichenovii
Bichen Finch is a lively, amusing bird. It is hardy and although it prefers a temperature of 15°C (60°F), it will survive in reasonable health at lower temperatures providing accommodation is dry and frost-proof. It is the smallest Australian finch, suitable for a mixed collection of similar-sized birds as it is good-tempered and docile, although it defends its nest vigorously.
Size: 10 cm (4 in)
Beak: silver. Body: grey and white with black bands around the chest and breast. Wings: dark blackish-grey flecked with white. Legs: grey.
Almost identical, but on some birds, the breast appears whiter than the cock’s. If mating these birds, it is best to acquire several and let them pair themselves.
Mixed millets and small plain canary seeds form the basic diet. Maw and the black niger seed are two useful small seed varieties that may also be given. Gritand cuttlefish bone must always be available.
Bichen Finch Breeding:
The Bicheno nests in a box, in an old disused nest, or in a bush. It does not use much material but lines the nest with soft materials, such as feathers and wool. The courtship dance of the cock is rather basic and consists of hopping towards the hen, turning in 180-degree circles with each hop. Part of the courtship ritual is wiping the beak on the perch.
Four to six white eggs are laid and both parents share in the incubation, never leaving the nest unattended. The sitting bird does not vacate the nest until the relief partner has entered. The cock bird is heard to sing at this time, normally are occurrence except in immature cock birds. The chicks hatch in 12 days and are fed by both parents. They emerge from the nest at 19 to 25 days. Soaked and sprouted seeds should be fed to breeding pairs and proprietary brand canary-rearing food may be purchased and can be mixed with hard-boiled eggs. Chopped meal worms (two or three per bird) are a useful aid.
It is an interesting sight to see a Bichen Finch being fed by its parent on a perch. The chick raises one wing as if protecting its brothers and sisters alongside it from the parent bird. Young chicks are grey on the upper parts and white below. There is no transverse band. The young birds may safely be left with their tolerant parents while a second brood is reared. They often help in the feeding of the new chicks. Young birds commence their molt at seven weeks of age and usually complete this by 16 weeks of age. Bichen Finch likes to roost in boxes all year round so these should be available. It is advisable in this case to segregate the sexes outside the breeding season. Plastic split rings may be used to identify the pairs for future reference.
This friendly and lively bird often forms close friendships with others and this may account for the fact that it has often hybridized with other kinds of finch.
See more: Bengalese Finch