Species group: Sparrows and Weavers
Other common names: Sudan Song Sparrow
Scientific name: Passer luteus
Despite their name, the Golden Song Sparrow is a delightful aviary bird not because of its song, which may resemble the House Sparrow's chirp a bit more than you might expect, but because of the adult male's beautiful plumage. In the right setting, breeders may be entertained by watching them construct their large, domed, sometimes quite sloppy nests.
The Golden Song Sparrow is a tough little bird native to relatively harsh habitats of eastern and northern Africa like thorn scrublands and desert edges. Like their relative, the House Sparrow, they are not afraid of human towns, and they can visit towns and farmlands as well as grasslands in huge mixed-species foraging flocks.
The male Golden Song Sparrow has a golden head and underparts, offset by a rich chestnut colored back and wings. A double white wing bar adds a further tasteful touch to the dapper feathers. The female is considerably duller.
12 - 15 grams (0.4 - 0.5 oz.)
12 - 13 centimeters (5 in.)
10 - 14 years
Behavior / temperament:
While the wild Golden Song Sparrow is noted for being bold and highly visible in its large flocks, the captive birds can be somewhat nervous if you do not give them the security of a large enough territory. They need room to fly, to explore, to build, and to dust bathe, in order for you to get the maximum enjoyment from observing their entertaining behaviors. Some breeders report that parents have stopped raising young if they became nervous from having a human check the nest box. They will also abandon the breeding attempt if they run out of live food.
The Golden Song Sparrow is a nomadic bird with an instinct to wander far and wide, and you must provide them with a larger flight cage than might seem reasonable for a bird their size. At the very least, a pair should have a secure powder-coated metal or stainless steel flight of a minimum size of around 2 x 2 x 2 feet with a ½ “ bar spacing. However, most people agree that you're unlikely to have much success breeding these birds unless you are willing to provide something much larger such as a walk-in aviary. When they're old enough, you can also provide nest cups and nest boxes, as well as plenty of building materials like twigs and grasses, to give them something to work with. Thick bushes in a well-planted aviary give you the best chance of success.
They like to dust bathe, and it's a good idea to provide clean sand for them to use. They have been held and even bred successfully in mixed species aviaries, but keep your eyes open. There have been reports both of Golden Song Sparrows attacking or just bothering other birds – and other reports of more aggressive species bullying the Song Sparrows.
The backbone of the Golden Song Sparrow diet should be a high quality small seed mix that includes a variety of fresh seeds including red millet. However, these birds cannot survive on an austere diet of hard seed alone. It is very important to soak or sprout fresh seed, so that you can offer healthy sprouted seed, including sprouted millet sprays, on a regular basis. They particularly enjoy greens, which they should receive several times a week. Chopped spinach, broccoli, kale, chickweed, dandelion, and other greens from pesticide-free sources will be cleaned up regularly. Shredded apples and carrots can always be added to the salad. All finches should have access to grit, as well as clean cuttlebone or another source of calcium.
Warning: Golden Song Sparrows also demand an astonishing amount of live food, especially if you expect to breed them. One breeder reported that he fed 250 mealworms a day to just two breeding pairs – as well as an uncounted quantity of maggots or waxworms. Another breeder simply said that Golden Song Sparrows are the rare species where you can never offer too much live food. Make sure you have a reliable supply of mealworms, crickets, and other live food before you start the breeding project.
Written by Elaine Radford
An Ideal Supplement
Many people are adding highly nutritious flaxseed oil to their bird's diet. It is filled with protein, B vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. Many birds, such as large macaws, especially benefit from this oil if they do not receive an adequate supply of nuts in their diet. I am a strong advocate of adding flax seed oil to any birds diet. .
From KimberlySharpe 226 days ago
Small birds can seriously injure each other if their habitat stresses them
Birds can be aggressive, especially during breeding season. Before you take a new bird home, you need to have a firm idea of where the bird will fit into your household. You can *somewhat* adjust the timing of the breeding system by using little tricks like adjusting the hours of daylight they're exposed to, adding or stopping the sound of rain or running water or other pairs nesting nearby, but you can't usually stop the birds from entering breeding season altogether. Every bird and every pair needs enough territory to feel safe. A mixed species aviary demands a lot of observation and attention from the owner.
Lovebirds are famous for pairing up and harming other species in their enclosure, but many innocent looking finches can count to six and create a pecking order. The top pair may then harass, injure, or even kill the bottom bird. These species demand a separate flight for each pair, or else they demand a large enough aviary that you can keep a flock larger than six individuals.
Too many birds in a too small territory is an incredible stress on birds and almost always will result in some birds being seriously hurt. If you could do only one thing to reduce the amount of stress on your birds, avoid acquiring too many birds for the territory you can supply.
The cockatiel in the picture was a peaceful bird who was chased by the little zebra finch pair in her aviary. I moved her to her own cage, the finches were happy, the 'tiel was happy, and everybody concerned went on to live long, peaceful lives.
I rate this form of stress reduction as not particularly easy because you need to be a good observer and you need to buy or build bigger flights than some people think reasonable, but it's worth the effort..
From peachfront 56 days ago