Species group: Exotic Songbirds
Other common names: Spotted-breasted Parrotbill, Rufous-headed Parrotbill, Spot-necked Parrotbill, White-throated Parrotbill
Scientific name: Paradoxornis guttaticollis
A very widespread higher elevation bird found in what has been described as "grass jungle," the Spot-breasted Parrotbill is an excellent natural singer found over a broad area of Asia, including China, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Although they are collected for the pet trade in Asia, these parrotbills are unusual aviary birds in the west. Their rarity, combined with their rather expensive diet and housing needs, means they're a bird best suited to the experienced aviculturist.
A smallish bird with a peculiar yellow bill that looks pushed in and unusually curved, the Spot-breasted Parrotbill is the only parrotbill species from China with a spotted breast.
15 grams (0.5 oz.)
19.5 centimeters (8 in.)
5 - 7 years
Behavior / temperament:
There is currently little information about how well Spot-breasted Parrotbills do sharing an aviary with other birds. Considering the size of the aviary, it's highly likely that you'll want to try adding some small finches that also enjoy a well-planted grassy habitat. Don't overcrowd the space, and be willing to set aside some time to watch how the birds interact before you leave them alone together.
The aviary will need to provide a variety of vertical plants in clean standing water, such as bamboo, tallish seeding grasses, and/or reeds, as well as areas where the Parrotbills can scratch or play in the soil.
Most exotic "softbilled" birds are a challenge to feed, and the Spot-breasted Parrotbill is no exception. This species can't be maintained on seeding grasses alone. Expect to provide insect and other live or high protein items like guppies, tiny mealworms or waxworms, and even flying insects attracted to the enclosure by an insect trap.
Written by Elaine Radford