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Gouldian Finches

Common Name:  Finch - Gouldian
Other Common Names:  Gouldian Finches, Painted Finch, Rainbow Finch, Lady Gouldian Finch
Scientific Name:  Chloebia gouldiae

Gouldian Finches are considered mono-morphic even though there are obvious differences in shade, male and female plumage remains very similar.

Description: Male:

Length: 130-140mm. The breast and belly colours are usually used to
determine sex. Males will have a brighter and darker color of purple on the chest and the yellow of the belly will be darker and more intense than the female.
The green back color and the light blue around the face
mask is also darker. Often the face mask in males are larger and clearer than the females.  Males have unblemished masks ( do not exhibit black and then a  colour like the hens).
 Male's wings and back are green, rump and upper tail coverts blue.
Tail is long, pointed and black. Crown, face, chin and cheeks black,
breast purple. The belly is yellow, tending to cream toward the vent and under-tail.
Eyes are brown, the bill is horny white with a coral red tip.
Legs and feet are yellow.

Female: similar to the male but not as brightly coloured.

Males and females can be sexed visually as early as just fledged.
Sexing is done by observing the back colour ( in normals) hens will be grayer then their male siblings and have slightly narrower heads.
As adults the colours of the male are brighter than the female.
Young Gouldians have a sheen on their plumage, which disappears
after the adult moult.


One of the most prized and sougt after of the Australian grass finches Gouldian finches are one of the most popular cage birds in North America.
Unlike their wild relatives Gouldian Finches are bred in several interesting and colourful mutations from simple head colour modifications to an all white bird, there is a mutation to suit all.

The first European to discover the gouldian was Lord Gould in 1838.
The finch is in fact named after the artists wife who died shortly on her return to Europe.

From their humble beginnings in the savannas of Australia to the homes of Aviculturists everywhere these birds have had a  very colourful past and their future looks endless.

Diet: Like all finches it is best to feed Gouldian finches very little seed as they are prone to obesity.

The ideal diet consists of :
sprouted millet seeds, green leafy vegetables, egg food, and cuttle bone.

Housing: Gouldians are not a fussy bird when it comes to housing and will readily live in a small foot long cage to a huge flight.

They do however need very clean accommodations, constant bathing facilities, clean fresh water, sturdy perches 1/2" to 3/4".

Health:  Gouldians on the whole are a relatively healthy bird as long as they get a  chance to bathe and are not overly disturbed.

Gouldian Finches can be prone to stress related illnesses.
They do have a  reputation of being soft or easily susceptible to disease, but that is because still after all these years in captivity little is actually known about what does actually keep gouldian finches happy and healthy.
Some have found that gouldian finches do better when raised by their parents as vital immunities are passed via the crop milk but no one is truly certain. As long as the birds are kept clean not too crowded and under stressed they do quite well.

Breeding: Breeding Gouldian Finches is generally considered more

difficult than breeding the more prolific Zebra Finches and Society's. Not a good choice for beginners.
Incubation for Gouldians is between 16 and 19 days.  Usual clutch sizes is between five and six eggs. The hen will start to incubate after the last egg is laid.   The male and female normally take turns incubating.  He during the morning and early evening and her the rest of the time. 
Chicks:  hatch usually in the early morning and are born naked. 
After 3 days you start to notice soft down starting to emerge.
Unlike other birds this down is not extensive and does not cover a large portion of the body.
At 6 days the birds are starting to get the beginnings of back feathers, and stubble appears at the rump.  The eyes also open at this time.
At 7 days the eyes are open.
At 9 days the bird has a bit of a tail and more back feathers also wing feathers start emerging.  It is best to band between now and it's twelfth day.
At 12 days of age the chick is mobile in the nest and has quite a few of it's feathers.   It starts peering at the entrance and looking out into the world.
The next 10-12 days the bird completes it's acquisition of feathers and fledges at about this time ( once the tail and body are fully feathered).
Some chicks may come out pre-maturely.  You can catch and place them back in the nest with their siblings if they keep hopping back out you will have to leave them out.
Once chicks are fledged the parents start cutting back on food and insisting chicks follow them.
This is now the beginning of weaning.  This usually happens a week or so after the chicks are out of the nest.  After 4 weeks of fledging chicks are fully weaned.   It can take 130 or so days from egg to completely moulted on finch on a   perch.
The average is 5 months, but some gouldian finches at LGFC have been known to moult in 130 days.    They are best left alone at this time so that
as they are extremely susceptible to any stress related illness.

Moulting: Gouldians Moult every 6 to 12 months depending on the individual and the wear and tear of it's plumage.

Molting is exceptionally stressful on Gouldians and they should be given plenty of high protein foods at this stage in their lives.
They should also be given some iodine to decrease stress on the birds.

Gouldian Finch Colouration:

Gouldian finches occur naturally in three different head colours, the
black-headed, red-headed and orange-headed.

Behaviour in Captivity:  Gouldian finches make an excellent addition to any finch collection.  They are not an overly messy nor boisterous bird and get along well with all other finches.

If you do house several together it wise never to have two pair as they will constantly bicker and cause each other major stress.  A good rule of thumb is to house 1 pair with other finches or 3 pair or more if to be kept in a colony .
Gouldian finches are wonderful singers ( slightly lighter then a canary) and exquisitely plummaged.  A true finch to have not only for the beauty of it's song but also it's magnificent  radiancy.

Below you will see the growth of the gouldian chick.
From 1 day old to fledging

gouldian chick1 day old

    2 days and begging

    5 day old

    7 days old

12 days old

    21 day old fledglings  

Normal Male 6 months old

Some Gouldian Finch  Mutations: white breast, lilac breast , rose breast, green pastel, green yellow
pastel white breast, yellow (as well as combinations of these).

Not yet accepted mutations: lilac breast, dilute, white breast dilute,
cinnamon, recessive yellow, dark factor, INO.

Modifications: Melanistic, pied, sea green, sea green white breast, red
line,  Gynandromorph , blue breast, clear wing,  blue + recessive
yellow, normal Blue.

To learn more about the above mentioned mutations or to see illustrations of them  please click here