Basic Finch FAQs

By Connie Soto


What is a typical life span of a finch?


On average a finch usually can live for ten or more years depending upon the specific species.


Can a finch live alone like the canary?


The finch is a very social bird and needs companionship unlike a canary.


Can any species of finch live together?


Not all finch species are compatible, it is best to read about the type of finch that you want to purchase before shopping for a finch.  Even some finches of the same species are not always compatible. The temperament of finches can vary greatly between the different species.


Finches come in many different color varieties and temperament leaving a person with many options.


What about drafts and finches?


Drafts or sudden temperature changes are not beneficial to finches the same as canaries.


Finch metabolism is quite active is there any precautions to protect them?


It is very important to have seed and water available for finches at all times. Finches are very active little birds and cannot go without food or water for very long without ill effects, even several hours can result in death.  


Does finch eat only a seed diet?


Finches eat primarily a seed diet but need a balance of fruit, veggies and soft food for proper nutrient.


During the breeding season do finches require a different diet?


The diet should always be balanced for healthy finches who will typically consume more soft food during the breeding season.


It always looks like seed is in the food dish but is it really still full?


Finches chuck the shell off of the bird seed leaving chucks in the food dish. If you blow into the dish the chucks blow out and the seed stays behind. If you are like me and do not want the chucks everywhere and you do not want to throw away good seed, then the following suggestion might help. Each day empty the seed into a container transferring it to a wild bird feeder, once a week start fresh. A caution that I strongly adhere to is, do not do this if you have any sick birds. The wild birds will benefit from the better quality of the seed than the typical wild bird seed that is usually sold. You will always know that your finches have enough seed each day instead of guessing.


Do finches require grit and cuttle bone?


Finches like canaries require grit and cuttle bone to be freely available to them each day.


Do finches sing?


Most finches sing and their melodic songs are quite varied throughout the many different species of finch.


My personal favorite finch song is that of the Strawberry finch which has a flute like melody and carries quite a tune for such a tiny bird.


The bill of the finch is more unique to their species what is it called?


Finches are referred to what is called hard bills.


How can a person tell the different between a male finch and a female finch?


Sometimes there is no way to distinguish the difference between the male and female finch except by behavior. Often the male is the brighter and more colorful than a female. A juvenile finch in most species is typically duller in color suggesting youth.


In the wild finches naturally wear down their toe nails what is done for caged finches?


Caged finches should have a variety of perches to help keep toe nails trim. It is best to keep an eye on the nails and trim them when they become too long. Take care not to cut them to short into the quick which is filled with blood. A finch can lose too much blood from a toe nail putting the bird in danger.  This will not be very difficult once you have practiced the procedure a few times. If you are uncomfortable the first time your veterinary can show you how.


What about deep cages for finches?


Even though finches are social they also require their own space. A cage needs to have enough room to have perches for each bird giving them a minimum of 4 inches of perch room for each. Appropriate flight room is the ability for a bird to be able to fly from perch to perch and not hop from perch to perch. A deep cage does not gain any flight room for birds as they do not utilize it where a horizontal cage area is much more beneficial.