|Photo by Biswarup Satpati (Trek Nature)
zebra finch (en); mandarim (pt); diamant mandarin (fr); pinzón cebra (es); zebrafink (de)
This species is found throughout Australia, East Timor and southern Indonesia. A common cage bird, it has also been introduced to several other countries, namely Puerto Rico, Brazil, Portugal and the United States.
These birds are 10-12 cm long and weigh 12 g.
These birds are found in a wide range of habitats, usually near rivers or other water sources. These include dry grasslands and woodlands, saltmarshes, dry savannas, dry scrubland, pastures, agricultural land, rural gardens and urban areas.
Zebra finches forage in large flocks, taking fallen or ripening grass seeds and also insects, especially during the breeding season.
They breed in October-April, varying according to rainfall. The female selects the nest site, which may be a small tree, a scrub, a cavity, a termite hill, a rabbit burrow, the nest of other birds or even open ground. She builds the nest, a loose dome made of a wide range of vegetable or even man-made materials collected by the male. There she lays 2-7 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge18-21 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 2-3 weeks later.
IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common or locally abundant. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, and it may be expanding in range due to the introduction of artificial dams and water tanks in arid areas.