Facts about the Zebra Finch

Bird, Small, Colorful, Finch

Bird Name:

Zebra Finch

Latin Name:

Taeniopygia guttata

Least Concern

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Estrildidae

Species: T. guttata

General Information:

The Zebra Finch is also known as the Chestnut-eared Finch, the Shelley, and the Spotted-sided Finch. It’s common across Australia, and has become widely kept for both research and aviculture.

Physical Description:

On average, it’s about 3.9 inches long and weighs near 17 g. The Zebra Finch has black and white tear-like stripes coming down beneath its eyes and reddish-brown ear patches on the sides of its head. Its upperparts are grayish-brown and its flanks are chestnut colored with white spots. There are thin black and white bars on its throat and the rump is white with a barred tail. The female does not have the reddish-brown ear patches, the stripes on the throat, or the spotted chestnut colored flanks of the man. Juveniles are similar in appearance to the female, but have black bills rather than the orange bills found on adult males and females. The differences between the race, T.g. castanotis, and the other, T.g. guttata, are that the latter subspecies doesn’t have the nice barring of the throat and are smaller in size.


The Zebra Finch is primarily a seedeater, but is also known to feed on fruits and insects.


Owing to the extensive supply, the Zebra Finch can be found in a variety of habitats. It prefers open country, including grasslands and lightly timbered regions, but also occurs on the fringes of cities and towns. It is also common near farms. T.g. castanotis ranges across Australia, with the exception of western coastal areas and the island of Tasmania. T.g. guttata exists from Lombok from the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia to Sermata and the coastal areas of Australia. The Zebra Finch has also been introduced to Puerto Rico, Portugal, and the United States. Its nests are located in a variety of places, including cavities, scrubs, low trees, bushes, in termite hills, rabbit burrows, ledges of man-made structures, and even on the ground.


The female lays an average clutch of 4 – 7 small white eggs. Both parents take responsibility for incubation, which lasts approximately 12 – 13 days. The young fledge approximately 18 – 21 days after hatching.

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