Green Singing Finch

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Is the Green Singing Finch right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Yellow-Fronted Canary; Yellow-Eyed Canary; Green Singer

Scientific name: Serinus mozambicus

The basics:
The Green Singing Finch is one of the most popular small finches because the males are confident singers with a good voice. They are easy to care for and not too difficult to breed, which makes them a decent starter bird for the novice breeder. There are 10 or 11 subspecies of this diverse, widespread bird found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, although not in the most arid habitats or in the very highest mountains.

If you get your male and female from two different sources, you may have a job making sure you have mated subspecies to subspecies, although at least one breeder warned that if you try to mate a large subspecies with a smaller one, then the birds probably won't go along with the project. On rare occasions, Green Singing Finches have hybridized with domestic canaries, so you should also avoid housing these birds together.

Despite the name “green,” the Green Singing Finch catches the eye because of its golden underparts, eyebrow, and “moustache.” Females wear a necklace of dotted black in a band around their neck. Young birds of both sexes also display this necklace, but once you see clear yellow breaking through a youngster's neckline, you know that you have a male who will one day present a clear yellow throat.

13 grams (0.5 oz.)

Average size:
12 centimeters (4.7 in.)

10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
Although the Green Singing Finch is not a bird that usually learns to fly to your hand, they are bold and happy pets as long as they have the security of their own territory. The male is generally a strong, reliable singer. If the bird is not singing, then he may be quiet because he's molting. However, a prolonged lack of song demands attention. If the house is too quiet, just try playing music or canary song very softly, and you could be astonished at how fast your bird perks up. Make sure he's getting enough protein and access to either some daylight or full spectrum lighting as well. If they feel the territory is too small, they can team up and get aggressive against any other birds in the flight. Never ask a pair of Green Singing Finches to share a small canary cage with any other birds.

Green Singing Finches exercise by flying, not by climbing or hopping, so they require a cage longer than many of the so-called finch cages offered in pet stores. 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. Don't consider placing two males together, as they could fight until one of them is destroyed. A single singing male will be happier alone than he will be caged with a rival. Have a screen of bird-safe greenery or even of millet sprays to give them some privacy. Some people have even attached artificial ferns or greenery just outside the cage, to give the birds the illusion of being somewhat in the bushes.

Always provide a shallow dish or bath to allow them to bathe. When you are ready for the birds to breed, at around 1 year of age, offer them a mesh basket containing a selection of soft, unsprayed grasses. The female will probably do most or all of the nest building. The male's job is to defend the territory with his beautiful song. Many people report that they've had success with breeding Green Singing Finches in large walk-in mixed species aviaries, but you do need to keep a close eye on the situation, since it's possible for Green Singers to get aggressive toward other birds – or for some other species to get aggressive toward them.

The backbone of the Green Singing Finch diet should be a high quality canary mix that includes niger/thistle. 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.

Green Singing Finches demand some protein food, especially if you expect to breed them. You can prepare an egg-food based on grated hard-boiled egg, but many breeders recommend that you offer livefood such as small mealworms, especially as you approach and then continue through the breeding season. A high quality finch pellet, if accepted, is another excellent source of proteins and vitamins. All finches should have access to grit, as well as clean cuttlebone or another source of calcium.

Written by Elaine Radford


brilliant yellow breast, lively little birds, famous song, melodious singing abilities, low maintenance


chatty birds, fattest flock, inherently nervous nature, timid behavior


large flight cage, early morning sun, silk plants, bath water

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