There are more than a hundred different types of finches in the world, but not all are popular to keep as pets. In fact, only certain domesticated finches are legal to keep as pets.
If you are considering finches as pets, be sure to choose a domesticated species and make sure that the bird you buy is bred in captivity, not captured in the wild.
7 Most Popular Types Of Finches As Pets With Picture
1. Zebra Finch
The zebra finch is by far one of the most popular finch species kept as pets, partly because they are a very resistant species. Zebra finches grow to approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall and weigh 17 to 19 grams at maturity.
These little birds get their name from the black and white striped pattern on the head and upper chest that contrasts with a bright white belly and patches of chestnut on the cheeks and under the wings.
The zebra finch is also known as the spotted-sided finch or the Chestnut-eared finch and comes in several color variants, such as a completely white mutation and a fawn-colored mutation.
Zebra finches are native to Australia and are a social and active breed, but also somewhat aggressive and territorial. These finches do not sing particularly well but reproduce prolifically.
2. Gouldian Finch
Gouldian Finch, also known as Lady Gouldian Finch, this species of finch is known for its bright coloration. These little birds have bright purple chests with yellow bellies that fade to white and various shades of green along the back.
The head is black with an orange or red coloration. This coloring is what gives the species its many nicknames, including the rainbow finch and the purple-breasted finch.
Sometimes it is also called painted finch, although this name actually belongs to a separate species.
The Gouldian Finch grows up to approximately 5 inches (13 cm) tall and weighs 16 to 17 grams at maturity. These finches are very resistant in captivity, although it can take them a little longer to get used to their habitat.
Gouldian finches are considered a passive species, which means they tend to get along with other finches. These finches do not sing very well and can be difficult to breed.
3. Society Finch
Also known as the Bengalese finch (a reference to its Asian origins), the society finch is a small and resistant species of finch that tends to get along with other finches.
These birds grow to approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall and come in a variety of colors and patterns, although several shades of brown are more common.
These birds sing very well and they are prolific breeders.
The song of the Society Finch is a little bit squeaky, sometimes with a rattle – males sing more than females and their songs are often similar to the male bird that raised them.
The Society Finch is a domesticated species developed from an Asian species of finch, though it is not found anywhere in the wild. This species is highly social, often exhibiting group grooming and they will even act as foster parents, raising chicks from other species along with their own chicks.
4. Star Finch
Star Finch is one of the easiest species of finches to identify because it has a greenish-yellow chest, an olive-green back, and throat with white spots, and a bright red face (although there are color mutations with yellow faces).
These birds grow to approximately 4.25 inches (11 cm) and weigh a maximum of about 14 grams. Star Finches take a little extra time to acclimatize but, once they do, they are a very resistant species. These birds are also very passive, so they get along well with other finches.
Star Finches have a pretty quiet song, but it’s very nice to listen to. This species originates in Australia and is known for its calm, quiet and peaceful nature. The Star Finch tends to live in flocks of medium to large size and are very prolific breeders. These birds enjoy seeds and insects like most of their diet.
5. Owl Finch
The owl finch is named for the colors and patterns of the owl it is known for. These birds have a brownish-gray body with black and white spotted wings, a dark tail, and a white upper chest.
However, what really distinguishes this species is its bright white face that is bordered in a thin black band with another black band that crosses the lower part of the chest. These finches also have blue-gray beaks.
Owl finches are a friendly and social breed, they are also quite passive, so they mix well with other species. These birds take time to acclimatize, but they are very resistant once they do and are also prolific breeders in captivity.
The Finch owl grows up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and weighs 15 to 17 grams at maturity. These birds are a bit rarer than other species, so they tend to be a little more expensive to buy.
6. Strawberry Finch
Also known as the Red Avadavat, the Strawberry Finch is a small finch species known for its bright red coloration and white spots.
These birds grow to a height of 3.6 to 4 inches (9 to 10 cm) and they only weigh about 7 grams or so at maturity. Strawberry finches take time to acclimate but they are very hardy once they do and they are a long-lived species as well.
In addition to being known for its bright red color, the Strawberry Finch is also known for its excellent singing ability.
These finches are a little tricky to breed, however, though their sexual dimorphism makes it very easy to distinguish males from females. Male Strawberry Finches have a lovely flute-like song and, while the female sings as well, it isn’t as loud.
7. Spice Finch
The Spice Finch is also known as the Scaly-Breasted Munia due to the scale-like pattern on its chest. These finches are usually brown in color on the head, back, tail, and wings with a white chest decorated in a scalelike pattern.
This species comes in thirteen subspecies and they are also known as the Nutmeg Finch, the Spotted Mannikin, or the Mascot Finch.
Spice Finches are a little larger than other finches, growing to 4.5 inches (11.5 cm) tall, but they still only weigh about 9.5 grams. These finches are very hardy and they are a passive species that mixes well with other finches.
The downside is that these finches do not sing much and they are very difficult to breed. Still, if you are looking for a peaceful and social species, the Spice Finch is great.
Things To Understand Before Keeping The Finches As Pets
With what you now know about finches, you may have some idea whether or not these are the right pets for you. Before you make your decision, however, you should learn about some of the details of keeping finches as pets.
In this section, you will know some important information about keeping finches together with other finches and other pets as well as an overview of the pros and cons of finches as pets.
How Many Finches Should You Buy?
While there are some exceptions, finches are typically fairly social birds and they do best when kept in pairs or groups. The number of finches you purchase will depend on a variety of factors.
For one thing, only passive species of finch do well when kept in large groups or in the same cage as other species. Some of the most passive species of finch include the following:
- Owl Finch
- Spice Finch
- Star Finch
- Society Finch
- Strawberry Finch
- Gouldian Finch
Finch species that are not on this list may get along with other finches if they are provided with enough space but they can become territorial. To reduce territoriality with finches, make sure the cage is very long to accommodate flight and ensure that each pair of birds has its own nesting box.
You may also want to use larger toys and accessories in the cage to break up sightlines. Some of the pushier or more territorial species of finch include the following:
- Zebra Finch
- Lavender Finch
- Shaft-Tail Finch
- Aurora Finch
- European Goldfinch
- Green Singing Finch
Aside from keeping multiple finches in the same cage, it is best not to keep finches with other species. The only exception to this rule is with canaries as long as they are similar in size and temperament. Never keep finches with parrots, cockatoos, or other large pet birds.
Can You Keep Finches With Other Pets?
You probably do not need to be educated on the risks of keeping finches (or any pet bird) with other pets. While it may be possible to keep certain species of finches with other finches, you should not mix finches with other pet birds.
Cats and some breeds of dog will chase or catch a finch if they get the chance so you also need to be very careful about keeping your finch cage closed securely at all times. If you choose to take your finches out of the cage to tame them, you should only do so in a room with the door closed and no other pets present.
Costs Of Owning Finches As Pets
Owning finches can be expensive so before you make the commitment you need to be sure that you can cover the necessary costs. For pet finches, you need to not only be able to pay for the birds themselves, but you also need to provide a safe and healthy habitat as well as a healthy diet.
In this section, you will learn an overview of the costs associated with purchasing and keeping finches as pets. If you cannot cover these costs, finches might not be the right pets for you.
The initial costs associated with keeping finches as pets include the cost of the birds themselves as well as the cage, cage accessories, toys, and grooming supplies. You will find an overview of these costs below as well as a chart depicting the estimated costs for keeping a single pair of finches as well as a group of four finches:
The average cost for a single finch will vary depending on the species, the color mutation, and where you get it. Depending on what type of finches you get, you should plan to spend $20 to $200 (£45 to £180) per pair.
The cost for a high-quality finch cage will vary greatly depending on the size, the type of cage, and the quality of the materials. Your best option is a large flight cage which could cost anywhere from $75 to as much as $500 or more (£68 to £450).
To properly outfit your finch cage you will need at least three food and water dishes as well as a nesting box, and several perches. The cost for these items can vary greatly but you should budget about $100 to $200 (£90 to £180) to be safe.
You really only need to keep 3 toys in your finch cage at any given time for a single pair of finches, though you should keep a variety of toys on hand so you can rotate them in and out to prevent boredom. Plan to spend about $50 (£45) on toys.
Like many birds, finches enjoy taking baths so you will need to have a birdbath available in your finch cage. Other grooming supplies you might need include nail trimmers and styptic powder. The average cost you can expect to pay for these supplies is around $40 (£36).
The monthly costs associated with keeping finches as pets include the cost of bird food, nesting and bedding supplies, cleaning supplies, and veterinary care. You will find an overview of these costs below as well as a chart depicting the estimated costs for keeping a single pair of finches as well as two pairs of finches:
Feeding your finches a high-quality diet is a key to keeping your birds happy and healthy. Some finch owners choose to feed their birds a seed mix while others prefer pellet foods. In addition to your finches’ staple diet, you should also offer supplemental foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
The cost for finch food varies depending on quality but you should plan to spend about $20 (£9) on a large bag of bird food that will last you about a month for a single pair of finches. Add to that the cost of fresh and supplemental foods you should budget for about $40 (£36) per month on food.
In order for your finches to be able to build a nest, you need to provide nesting materials like wood shavings and small twigs. Plan to spend about $15 (£13.50) on nesting supplies.
If you want to keep your finches healthy you need to maintain a clean cage. You won’t need to buy cleaning supplies every month but you should budget a cost of about $10 (£9) per month on supplies.
Not all veterinarians are qualified to care for birds so you might have to find an exotics vet to take care of your finches. The average cost for this kind of veterinarian visit is about $50 (£45). You will not need to take your birds to the vet every month. If you take your finches to the vet twice a year and divide that cost over twelve months you should budget about $8 (£7.20) per month, per bird.
In addition to all of these monthly costs, you should plan for occasional extra costs like repairs to your canary cage, replacement toys, etc. Again, you won’t have to cover these costs every month but you should budget about $10 (£9) per month to be safe.
Pros And Cons Of Finches
Before you decide whether or not finches are the right pet for you, you should familiarize yourself with both the advantages and disadvantages of finches as pets. Below you will find a list of pros and cons for finches, in general, to help you make your decision:
Pros for Finches as Pets
- Finches come in many different species, colors, and patterns.
- Many finches sing beautiful songs, though it is mainly the males of each species that sing.
- Finches are generally small birds that do not require cages as large as parrots and other pet birds.
- Most finches are hardy and adaptable species as long as their basic needs are met.
- Many finch species are passive and social species that can be kept with other finches.
- For the most part, finches breed readily in captivity, though there are some exceptions.
Cons For Finches As Pets
- It is not recommended that you keep a single finch, they are best kept in pairs or groups, depending on the species.
- Some finch species can be very loud and boisterous, such as the Zebra Finch.
- Finches require an avian vet – this may cost more than a regular vet checkup for a dog or cat.
- Some finches can be very messy, flinging seed around the cage.
- Finches are generally not a pet bird that you can handle a lot, though some can be tamed with time.