Species group: Australian Finches
Other common names: Gould's Finch; Gouldian Finch; Rainbow Finch; Painted Finch
Scientific name: Erythrura gouldiae
The Lady Gouldian Finch is often regarded as the most beautiful of the finches.Although the Lady Gould can present challenges to even the most advanced show breeder, they can also be a relatively rewarding finch for the careful intermediate or even the advanced beginner. The expert looking for a challenge may want to tackle the project of cage breeding for special (and sometimes fragile) mutations. But many hobbyists simply enjoy setting up a few pairs of the beautiful natural morphs in a planted aviary and allowing their birds to choose their own partners.
Some experience with breeding Society Finches is especially helpful, since many people enjoy success by fostering excess Lady Gould eggs or babies under Societies.
The Lady Gouldian Finch is a rare species endemic to northern Australia. Until recently, it was rated as an endangered species, but the population seems to have stabilized, and at the time of this writing, the ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), has down-listed it as “near-threatened.” As a grass-eating finch, it has faced changes in its habitat, including competition from cattle and destruction of its habitat by wildfires. The situation is definitely worth watching.
The beautiful Lady Gould is closely related to the colorful parrot finches, and its recent name change to the genus Erythrura reflects that relationship. However, you may find lots of information about them also published under the previous name, Chloebia gouldiae.
The adult males of the two most common natural color morphs, the red-faced and the black-faced, are spectacular multi-colored birds that take the breath away. The green wings, purple breast, and yellow abdomen remind many of Mardi Gras or Easter egg colors. The females are distinctly more muted, with a lavender instead of a deep purple breast. Her bill will darken in breeding season. There is also a natural, if very rare, yellow-faced morph, which is really more orange than yellow, and there are also a great number of color mutations that have been created by human breeders.
16 - 17 grams (0.6 oz.)
12 - 14 centimeters (5 in.)
5 - 8 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Lady Gouldian Finch is most admired for its looks, but its steady and rather gentle personality also make it a good bird for the colony or mixed-species aviary. Very occasionally, a male might show some aggressive spirit in the breeding season, but most breeders are more concerned about the Lady Gouldians being the victim of curiosity or aggression. Don't let more assertive species push your Gouldians around. You may enjoy the most success with an all Gouldian colony.
Many people enjoy the male's soft song, but a few people have complained that the voice is too quiet for them to hear. You can watch out for the dance, and enjoy the little show that the male puts on to court his female, but don't interfere or poke around too much once the birds actually start nesting. Sometimes, this species is guilty of tossing youngsters out of the nest, and too much interference from humans or other birds might be one cause of that problem.
The large number of mutations speaks to the fact that Lady Gouldian Finches can and do breed in cages. However, they do need a roomy flight which encourages them to fly, to exercise, and to allow the male to perform his charming mating dance. Many breeders have recommended breeding cages of around 3' long, 2' deep, and 1-1/2 to 2' tall, with a bar spacing of about 1/2” wide.
Many people prefer a planted aviary large enough to hold a colony. Most finches, including the Lady Gouldian, seem to remember a “pecking order” if you keep three pairs or fewer, so plan on keeping at least four pairs to prevent anyone from being picked on. Have pots of sprouted millet and other seeding grasses among the bird-safe plants, to give the finches something to eat and destroy. Considering the value of these beautiful finches, install a security system to stop human thieves, as well as taking precautions to secure the aviary from predators and disease-carrying mosquitoes. Most people provide heat lamps or another source of heat in the cooler months, but well acclimated Lady Gouldian Finches are reported to sometimes scorn the heat source. Keep an eye on them to make sure they're thriving in your weather conditions, and have safe places where they can get out of the cold or the direct sunlight.
As an Australian grass finch, the Lady Gouldian Finch thrives on a relatively simple diet, but never use this as an excuse to short-change these beautiful finches. The core of the diet should be a high quality small seed mix, with plenty of spray millet on the side. Most people will also offer a high quality eggfood during the molt and breeding season, as well as sprouts, greens, and a bit of chopped fruits and vegetables. Some people also like to add a good finch pellet, and there are even breeders who have taught Lady Gouldian Finches to eat live food by providing a “teacher” finch in the colony that already takes live food. You should also provide clean cuttlebone, grit, and the vitamins and other supplements recommended by your avian vet or your breeder. They tend to look unusually ratty during the molt, but it's worth seeking advice at that time if you're worried.
Be careful with the diet, and follow the instructions you receive carefully. The Lady Gouldian Finch can be somewhat lazy and prone to weight gain, and a too-rich diet may cause liver problems or obesity. However, an inadequate diet or a diet not recognized as food can starve your birds. Don't overfeed live food, and don't “assume” that the birds are eating pellets. Be sure of what they're eating. At least one breeder does not serve any “wet” food, feeling it is a source of unhealthy bacteria, but others instead offer the salad, eggfood, and so forth for only a couple of hours before removing it. A Lady Gouldian's cage or aviary must be kept clean, so don't let old food sit.
Written by Elaine Radford
beautiful jewels, ornamental bird, stunning birds, beautiful colors, elaborate courtship, Breast colors
air fresheners, toxic fumes, initial purchase price, shy nature, heart failure, human handling
occaisonal fresh greens
Lady Gouldian Finches
For a family pet bird, you can't go wrong with finches, and Lady Gouldians are my personal favorite. They aren't as messy as other birds, sing all the time and have pretty, vibrant colors. The male birds have more colors than the females, but it is nice to get one of each, but if you do decide on a male and a female, be ready for baby finches. My finches just recently has 2 baby finches. Just like all birds, finches need water and bird seed everyday, but also enjoy millet seed strings. Finches also need a nest with shredded newspaper so they can build a safe home for their children. One of my favorite parts of finches is that you don't need a huge cage, because they are such a small bird. The one thing to be careful with finches is making sure they don't escape and keeping them in a safe spot, if you have other larger pets, like dogs. Overall, finches as a species are a small, clean bird that have beautiful voices and are great for a family home..
From Eeleam13 Apr 20 2015 10:16AM
Lady Gouldian Finches are beautiful and enchanting birds to own. Finches, in general, are not "buddy" birds and most likely will not sit on your shoulder or follow you around. They are cage/aviary birds that need as much horizontal space to fly as you can give them. The males have a very quiet song, like a loud whisper. They have an elaborate courtship involving the song, very low bows and a hopping dance performed in the direction of thier intended. The females are generally a more subdued version of the males in terms of coloring. Head colors come in red, black or orange (yellow). Breast colors are purple, white or lilac and body color can be green, dilute (a slightly washed-out green), yellow, light blue (pastel), blue or silver. The young fledge without their beautiful colors and will acquire them with thier first molt. Gouldians generally require about the same level of care as a canary. They need a quality finch mix, fresh water daily and occaisonal fresh greens, eggfood or other treats. Cost will vary from one area to the next and by the coloring/mutation, but generally run from about $60-$90 for the more common colors to $150-$250 for the harder to find ones. These are prices from breeders. Pet store prices may be much higher. Gouldians have an undeserved reputation of being fragile and difficult to keep and breed. I have found them to be neither. Many people think they need to be kept within a very narrow temperature to survive. I live in Northern California and we get temperaturs to the low 30s and snow in winter and 100+ temperatures in the summer. My birds are largely housed in outside flights with protection from the wind and direct rain or from the direct rays of the beating sun. I offer them a heat lamp in winter to warm themselves under if needed and they thrive in this environment. They do need to be acclimated though. You cannot put a bird that has been used to a constant 75 degrees in a flight that is gettng into the 50s or so and not expect them to have problems. They should become gradually used to a wider range of temperatures. They are also not difficult to breed. I have raised literally hundreds of them over the last 8 years. There is a learning curve for them, as with any bird. Once they get the hang of it they are excellent devoted parnets and tolerate nest checks well if they are accustomed to them..
From Audio51 Nov 22 2008 9:58PM