Basic Zebra Finch FAQs

(Poephila Guttata)

Connie Soto

January 2009


How long do Zebra finch live?


In the wild a Zebra finch typically will live about five years. In captivity they can live anywhere from six to ten years.

Is a Zebra finch easy to care for?


Zebra finches are often recommended for any new bird owner as they are a hardy breed and their basic care is relatively easy.


Should a Zebra finch live alone like the canary?


The Zebra finch is a gregarious bird and needs companionship unlike a canary. They should be paired or grouped together and depending upon the temperament they can live with other species of finches as well.


Where did the Zebra finch species originate?


Zebra finches originally came from Australia.


How can you tell the difference between a male and a female Zebra finch?


The male Zebra finch is brightly colored unlike the females more pale coloring. Both the male and female have a reddish orange beak and legs. The upper body and wings are gray with white underneath. They both have a tear drop under the eye. The female lacks the orange cheek patch, the zebra looking chest and the chestnut with white dots on the flanks.


The Zebra finches seem to greet me when I enter the room?


This greeting that the Zebra finches display when a person enters the room is more a natural wild life warning response rather than a greeting. It is easy to notice that they do respond to your presence as you can see when you move about the room or speak to them directly. They are active, fun little birds that are easy to enjoy.


Is the Zebra finches metabolism like other finches and do they require the same type of precautions?


It is very important to have seed and water available for Zebra finches at all times. They 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 the Zebra finch eat only a seed diet?


Zebra finches like most other finches eat primarily a seed diet but need a balance of fruit, veggies and soft food for proper nutrient.


Do Zebra finches require grit and cuttle bone?


Zebra finches require grit and cuttle bone to be freely available to them each day.


Does both the male and female Zebra finch sing?


The female Zebra finch does not sing. The male Zebra finch begins to experiment with singing when he reaches puberty.


Do all male Zebra finch songs sound the same?


The Zebra finch develops their song over time and they have the ability to mimic other birds and sounds that they hear. This formative development of their song gives the Zebra finch a unique song of their own.


Can Zebra finches be kept in outdoor accommodations?


Zebra finches can adapt quite successfully either to living inside or outside. They do require protection from the elements.


What temperature range can the Zebra finches tolerate when living outside?


Zebra finches who live in the East or the Mid West in a sheltered aviary can typically tolerate temperatures between 40-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters of California are much different than the East or the Mid West and the Zebras are successful in a sheltered aviary between 30-100 degrees Fahrenheit. My theory of why this is true, is that the birds do fine with the wider range of temperature because California does not maintain the extreme temperatures for a long period of time. A rapid fluctuation in temperature is never a good idea for any bird.


What about baths for Zebra finches?


Zebra finches love to bathe and if you cannot provide them with a daily bath, once a week will do just fine.



Baby Zebra Finch is fluffed out to keep warm in the outside aviary.

Night time temperature on this particular day was 27 degrees and it reached a high of 35.

Fluffing out its feathers produces the same effect as people do when layering clothes for warmth.