The combination of the two back colors results in a pale bird that only faintly shows the colors that were removed. These are called Silvers. Personally, I see little point to their development as it is the elimination of all the color that makes the Gouldian such a magnificent bird.

The Gouldian finch is endemic to northern Australia, where it occurs mainly in the north-west regions of the Northern Territory and in the Kimberley region of Western Australia (2) (3). It has also been occasionally recorded in Queensland (2). 

5. Ritchie, B. W., Harrison, G. J., & Harrison, L. R. (1994). Avian medicine: Principles and application. Lake Worth, FL: Wingers Publishing.

A recovery plan is being developed for this colourful bird, and a range of conservation actions and monitoring work are underway within its range (2). Ironically, the removal of the Gouldian finch from its natural habitat has led to the creation of secure populations in aviaries worldwide (4).

Gouldian finches are a popular species in aviculture due to their bright colors, low maintenance, and relative easy breeding. Gouldian finches get along well with other species of grass finch as well as other docile species such as waxbills and parrot finches.

Outside the breeding season the Gouldian Finch is partly migratory. Birds move in quite large flocks to more coastal areas and return back inland to breed when the rainy season arrives.

3. Blazey, P. S. (1991). The proper care of finches. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications.

The Gouldian Finch is patchily distributed in tropical northern sub-coastal areas from Derby, Western Australia, to the Gulf of Carpentaria and thinly to central Cape York Peninsula, but is locally common in the north and north-western parts of its range.

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BirdLife International has identified the following sites as being important for Gouldian finches:[10]

My recipe for good avian care is a bright clean room, a good vacuum cleaner, lots of love and a proper Lafeber diet. My birds and I are writing this letter to thank you for 10 years of good health. Keep on doing what your doing.

Like other finches, the Gouldian finch is a seed eater. During the breeding season, Gouldian finches feed mostly on ripe or half-ripe grass seeds of sorghum. During the dry season, they forage on the ground for fallen seed. During the wet season, spinifex grass seed (Triodia sp.) is an important component of their diet. So far Gouldians have been recorded as consuming six different species of grass seed, but during crop analysis, researchers have yet to find evidence of insect consumption.

Like many finches, this elegant bird has two tail feathers which are long and end in a point (4). Female Gouldian finches are less brightly coloured than males, and juveniles are also recognizable by their different colouration, having ash-grey heads, sides and necks, and olive-green backs, wings and tail feathers (4). The young develop the adult colours as they mature (4).

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Outside the breeding season, Gouldian finches often join mixed flocks consisting of long-tailed finches and masked finches. This is probably a defense against predation. Flocks used to consist of up to 1,000–2,000 individuals. During the breeding season they are usually found on rough scree slopes where vegetation is sparse. In the dry season, they are more nomadic and will move to wherever there is food and water.

Often times the cage you are purchasing will already come with a few perches to place in desirable spots. If an additional cement type perch is purchased, it will save you the hassle of having to get the birds nails clip every few months. There are many different style perches from plastic, wood, and even actual pieces of branchy natural perches. Place the perches in the cage so the birds have sufficient places to perch, while still having enough room to fly about the cage.

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We offer a bunch of different kinds of bedding for the bottom of your new cage. The one we recommend, and use for our birds is Corn Cob Bedding. It does not fly all over the place and is safe for the birds. All you need is about a half inch layer of the bedding and change it once a week or as needed.

Let me first state of by saying that I do NOT recommend attempting to breed Gouldians if you have not mastered their basic housing and feeding requirements. Breeding finches is a huge responsibility and the consideration to breed these birds should not be taken lightly.

For most of the year Gouldian Finches feed mostly on ripe or half-ripe grass seeds. During the breeding season, however, the diet consists almost entirely of insects. Insects are rich in protein and help satisfy the demanding appetite of the young birds. Birds feed in small to large groups, and food may be taken on the ground or in flight.

In the past, the removal of wild birds for aviary collections may have threatened the Gouldian finch, but trapping was banned in the early 1980s (3). However, all of these factors have reduced the viable breeding population of the Gouldian finch, and there at present estimated to be only between 2,500 and 10,000 mature individuals in the wild (2).

The Gouldian Finch is the only grassfinch that nests exclusively in tree hollows or holes in termite mounds.

The Gouldian finch was described by British ornithological artist John Gould in 1844 and named after his wife Elizabeth. It is also known in America as the rainbow finch, Gould's finch, or the Lady Gouldian finch (although Mrs. Gould did not hold the title lady). In Australia, it is predominantly called the Gouldian finch. It is a member of the weaver-finch family Estrildidae, which is sometimes considered a subfamily of Passeridae.

The light reflecting nodes in the corners of their mouth as well as the mouth markings themselves points to a close relationship with parrot finches (see mouth markings).

Gouldian Finch

Origin and phylogeny has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al.[2] Estrildinae may have originated in India and dispersed thereafter (towards Africa and Pacific Ocean habitats).

Although there wild populations are at risk, Gouldian finches have been extensively in captivity and, therefore, are readily available in large pet stores, from avian retail stores and through bird breeders.

White-breasted yellow-headed Gouldian finch (left) and black-headed male Gouldian finches

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1. Harrison, G. J., & Harrison, L. R. (1986). Clinical avian medicine and surgery. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company.

Gouldian finches are native to the grasslands of Australia.

These beautiful finches prefer tropical savannah woodland with grassy understorey and open wide plains with hollow-bearing Eucalyptus trees (2).

Both sexes are brightly coloured with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly coloured. One major difference between the sexes is that the male's chest is purple, while the female's is a lighter mauve.

The Gouldian finch forages in upright grasses on semi-ripe to ripe seeds, such as those of spear grass or sorghum (Sarga) species (2) (4).

I have always bred my Gouldians in cages as individual pairs. I have tried breeding them in larger cages with 2 to 3 pairs, but was not as successful with that arrangement. Some other breeders have reported great success breeding Gouldians in colonies. Probably the best arrangement for colony breeding would be in a larger aviary with four or more pairs. While a mostly peaceful bird, they can begin to pick on each other to defend their nest territory.

Prior to the Australian government's ban on the export of Australian fauna in 1959, Gouldian finches were exported worldwide. These birds have resulted in viable breeding populations being held in many countries.

Gouldians are pleasant “watching only” birds – they don’t like to be held, and can even panic and die when handled. Stress is deadly for these fragile birds. They are not typically hand-raised (only under emergency circumstances), and will not take well to taming efforts. They are lovely to watch, but not to hold. If properly cared for, these birds are reported to live for more than 4 to 6 years.

Gouldian finches are about 130–140 mm long. Gouldian finches' heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are colour variants that exist in the wild.[3] Selective breeding has also developed mutations (blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back) in both body and breast colour.

In 1841, English ornithologist, John Gould, named these impressive little birds after his late wife, Lady Elizabeth Gould, and decreed them the most beautiful finch in the world. It would be difficult to contradict him. The Lady Gouldian finch looks like a handcrafted statuette, with seamless feathering and brilliant, painterly hues. Six years later the species made its way to Europe, and quickly caught on with pet fanciers.

It would be impossible to squeeze all the facts and information in an article of this size, so you are bound to have built up a few questions. Like I mentioned before, if you run into any problem or have a question, or even just want to share your stories of success, you know where to find me. I thank you for taking the time to read this article and hope it has intrigued an interest in the fascinating hobby of keeping and breeding Gouldian Finches.

Gouldians, like most finches, have an extremely high metabolism. They are almost consistently feeding. If they go more than a few hours without food, it can lead to death. This being said, making sure that fresh food is available at all times is a must. The finches must consistently eat to keep up with their active and energetic personalities.