The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is an Australian songbird that is numerous throughout its roaming grounds, which also include Timor-Leste and Indonesia. These smallish, energetic finches are often seen in households as pets. Since zebra finches have gregarious and companionable natures, they tend to thrive when living in pairs.
Zebra finches usually weigh slightly less than half an ounce, with typical lengths of around 4 inches. It is easy to tell the sexes apart, as the females are markedly duller, color-wise. Male zebra finches are a blend of several colors, including black, white, gray, orange and brown, while the females are uniformly gray. Female zebra finches possess orange bills, and the males' bills are crimson.
These wee birds exist as pets internationally and are often admired for their calm and serene temperaments. Despite their relaxed dispositions, zebra finches generally do not enjoy being picked up by people. However, they often develop strong rapports with their human caretakers, occasionally even retrieving food directly out of their hands.
When it comes to "talking" to people, zebra finches are far from vocal birds, with most of their repertoire consisting of mild chirping. Unlike many other varieties of birds, they do not talk, but they occasionally acknowledge human voices. When sending messages amongst themselves, they do rely on calling sounds, whether for breeding or alert purposes. Males tend to be louder than the females of the species.
These songbirds do well when fed diets that are made up of commercial finch pellet mix, millet, fresh vegetables and seeds. Some suitable fresh vegetable options for zebra finches include spinach, brussels sprouts, lettuce, dandelion greens, broccoli and watercress. During times of reproduction, bug consumption is especially important, according to Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan. Bugs that zebra finches can eat include moths and water fleas. When their feathers fall out during molting, they also need larger portions of food.
Zebra finches are capable of reproducing throughout the year, particularly right after ample rainfall. These birds practice monogamy and generally stay together their whole lives. When male zebra finches woo females, they dance to attract them, jumping between branches and conspicuously pushing out their plumage. In captive environments, breeding zebra finches is usually swift and easy.