The Owl Finch

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default The Owl Finch

Post  FinchG on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:15 am

Other common names
Owl Finch, Owl-faced Finch, Bicheno Finch, Bicheno's Finch, Double-bar Finch, Double-barred Finch
P. b. bichenovii: White-rumped Owl, Banded Finch
P. b. annulosa: Black-rumped Owl, Black-ringed Finch, Ringed Finch

Origin
Australia

Physical descriptions
Blueish-grey beak, white face encircled by a thin black band starting from the forehead (directly above the beak), continuing around the cheeks, and meeting under the chin; a second black band runs accross the lower breast. The top of the head, nape of the neck, and back are brown with small dark bars, the wing feathers are dark brown-black with white dots, it has a silvery chest, creamy off-yellow underparts, and a black tail. The legs and feet are greyish blue to dark grey. The rump (upper tail coverts) are white. One "mutation" (actually a separate race) which exists is the black-rumped variety, which looks nearly identical to the white-rumped race, except that the birds have a black rump. Crossing the two races may produce hybrids which have a combination of the two rump colors. Juveniles look like dull versions of the parents, being browner above with less pronounced markings.

Sexing
Hens may have slightly narrower breast bands and less pure white on the face. Only cocks sing. Often separating the birds into an empty cage one at a time, out of sight of other birds, will induce males to sing.

Song
Audio clips were obtained from my personal breeding pairs. Songs vary among individual males.

Favorite foods
Small millet, boiled egg, green food, occasionally small mealworms and other live foods.

Natural habitat
Semi-arid and sub-humid areas; areas with pandanus palms or long grass near adjacent to streams and lagoons, near surface water in dry plains with small trees (e.g. eucalypts) and bushes (e.g. acacia, bauhinia), gardens and cultivated areas (e.g. sugarcane fields), open woodland and forest edge
Habits

Owl finches are highly social and will engage in clumping and allopreening. Wild flocks often consist of 4 to 20 individuals, but may be larger during the dry season. They roost in nests, either those built for the purpose of roosting, or in old breeding nests of their own or of other species; several individuals may roost together in one nest. Pair bonds are very strong and pairs may remain together throughout the year, even when not breeding. Owl finches drink water by sucking. Males usually only sing during the breeding season.

Special considerations
Owl finches may do poorly if housed in the cold; therefore, do not keep birds at a temperature below 68-72°F (20-22°C). Wintering birds indoors or providing a heated shelter is advised. Hybrids have occurred between owl finches and the following species: Zebra Finches ( Poephila guttata), Long-tailed Grass Finches (P. acuticauda), Black-throated or Parson's Finches (P. cincta), Masked Finches (P. personata), Star Finches ( Neochmia ruficauda), Plum-headed Finches (Aidemosyne modesta), White-headed Munias ( Lonchura maja), Bengalese Finches (L. striata domestica), Pictorella Mannkikins (L. pectoralis), and Yellow-rumped Finches (L. flaviprymna), so take care not to interbreed these species if housing them together.

Breeding season
In northern Australia, owls breed during the second half of the wet season, but may breed later. In eastern Australia, breeding occurs mainly in the spring and autumn

Breeding tips
Place several individuals together to allow birds to choose their own mates. A male will court a hen by fluffing his feathers and hopping toward her, turning 180° with each hop. In a crouched posture, with head turned toward the hen, he will sing while frequently wiping his beak. Once bonded, members of a pair often remain together and should not be separated. If constructing a nest from scratch, pairs will build in the peripheral branches of bushes or trees using grass stems and other plant materials. They may also use the old nests of other species, holes in trees, or niches in the aviary, such as under the roof. Nests in the wild are often located near wasps' nests. If colony breeding in a well-planted aviary, several pairs may build nests close together. Owl finches can also breed successfully in a cage (housed one pair per cage), and may accept a half-open nest box or wicker nest basket to build in. Provide pairs with coconut fiber and fine grasses for nesting material. Wild populations differ in their desire to line the nest with feathers: birds from the north and north-west did not use feathers, but birds from the east did. Both sexes incubate the eggs and both will roost in the nest at night. Provide the pair with plenty of privacy and do not perform any nest checks until chicks are of banding age (around 8-9 days of age) to prevent tossing of the chicks from the nest. Hatchlings emerge with down and light skin which darkens with age to nearly black by day 4. For rearing food, the parents should be provided with egg food and soaked seed in addition to their regular diet. They may also appreciate live food such as small mealworms, though this is not necessary. Chicks are brooded by the parents until they are 9 days old, but the parents will continue to sleep in the nest at night. Young may assume a begging posture which includes lifting one wing straight into the air. Once fledged, young will return to the nest to roost at night.

Life Cycle
Clutch size: 3-6 eggs (4-5 most common)
Incubation date: After the 3rd or 4th egg is laid
Hatch date: After 12 days of incubation
Fledge date: At 22-26 days of age
Wean date: 5-6 weeks of age
Begin molt: Within 10 weeks of age
Complete molt: 3 months of age
Sexual maturity: Although young may become sexually mature around the time they attain adult plumage, they should not be allowed to breed until they are at least 9 months old.

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FinchG
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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  FinchG on Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:39 am

I am adding pictures to the species posts.


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default Owl Hen Abandons Eggs

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:05 am

She laid 5 eggs but she didn't sit all the time. Its been everal weeks now and for 2 days now she has
not gone into the nest. I checked and they were not good. crying1 Very disapointed.....

Took the nest out and giving them a break.

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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  FinchG on Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:19 am

the owls didn't incubate their eggs this time.

Do you think one of the other finches are disburbing them? What new finches were added since the last successful clutch they had? Are the zebras in the same flight? My societies tried to take over the gouldians nest and I had to remove them.

My orange weaver keeps laying eggs everywhere but the nest and she does not incubate them, I put them under the societies but they didn't hatch and the societies pitched one of the eggs. I have put the orange weaver hen in a seperate cage to see if she will incubate but she still doesn't sit.

Its frustrating when this happens, I hope after they rest that your owls do better on the next clutch.


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Lots Of Societies, 11 Gouldians, 4 Orange Cheek Waxbills, 2 Orange Weavers, 3 Spice Finches,1 Quaker, 1 Conure and 2 Lineolated Parakeets



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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:40 am

The owls have been in a cage by themselves for months..... Their first clutch they had they were in the flight cage and they did fine go figure?????

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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  FinchG on Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:57 am

hmmm, maybe try putting them back in the flight and take out the zebras if they are in there.

But if they are laying eggs that at least is a good sign they feel comfortable enough to lay eggs. Is their cage in a quiet area with lots of plants? and maybe cover the side where the nest is to give more privacy?

You never know what works and you try to do everything right but the birds just don't co-operate. Maybe since Spring is almost here they may get in the parent mode again. Like you said, take out the nest and rest them for a while and try again later.


FinchG
Lots Of Societies, 11 Gouldians, 4 Orange Cheek Waxbills, 2 Orange Weavers, 3 Spice Finches,1 Quaker, 1 Conure and 2 Lineolated Parakeets



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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  Guest on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:37 am

The one thing I think was different from the first clutch was a different type nest. The first nest was a small bamboo finch nest all other times they had a large bamboo nest and this time a large plastic nest. Maybe they like the little nest best......

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default Re: The Owl Finch

Post  FinchG on Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:50 am

Maybe next time give them a choice of nests and see which one they pick. They may pick the small one again. I always go for the big nest to ensure no babies get knocked out but the finches may not like my chocies, so I try and give them different sizes to pick from. In my society flight I have a big wicker basket and a small covered wicker one and they all pile in the smallest one even though I hange them at same height.

Finchs seem to have a mind of their own.


FinchG
Lots Of Societies, 11 Gouldians, 4 Orange Cheek Waxbills, 2 Orange Weavers, 3 Spice Finches,1 Quaker, 1 Conure and 2 Lineolated Parakeets



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