This cheery little bird is actually closely related to the ever-popular canary, S. canaria, and will hybridize with it in captivity. Although overshadowed by its better known cousin, this African native has much to recommend it as a pet.
The greenish-grey upper parts merge with the lemon-yellow breast and chin, and a yellow streak tops the eye. Females are somewhat duller than males, and have a faint ring of black spots about the neck. Reaches 4- 4½ inches in length.
Range and Habitat
Most of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in semi-arid areas. Favors open forest and scrub, as well as farms and ranches.
Status in the Wild
Not well studied. Listed on Appendix III of CITES (the Committee on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Feeds mainly upon the seeds of grasses and shrubs, but also takes plant sprouts, berries and insects.
A cup shaped nest is constructed of grasses, moss and animal hair. The eggs are blue-green with brown speckling, are incubated by both parents, and hatch in 13 days. The young fledge in 2 weeks, and sexual maturity is reached in 4-6 months.
Green singing finches forage in pairs or small family groups, and do not form large flocks.
Green Singing Finches as Pets
These birds are hardy and active, and the male’s song is a real pleasure to hear. They can, however, be aggressive towards other species of finches unless ample room is provided. Pairs cannot be housed with other green singers, and when nesting may harass other birds even in quite large aviaries. Males sing their melodious, cheerful song throughout the day during the breeding season.
Space and Other Physical Requirements
Despite their small size, green singers need a good deal of room as they are quite active. They will do fine in a large indoor cage such as (http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/237219/product.web), and will show off to great advantage in a planted outdoor aviary.
The cage should be lit by a full spectrum bird bulb if the finches are housed indoors.
A basic finch seed mix, such as ZuPreem Fruit Blend should be fed, as well as occasional mealworms and small crickets. Green singers consume a bit more green food than do other finches – Vitakraft’s Sprout Pot will provide much-relished grass sprouts. They will also enjoy picking at small slices of apple, orange and other fruits.
Social Grouping/Compatible Species
Green singing finches are aggressive towards others of their kind, and should be housed in pairs only. Parents will co-exist with fledglings only until the next clutch of eggs is laid.
They will get along and even interbreed with canaries in a large, well-planted aviary, provided there is ample cover and perching and feeding sites. Even in this situation, however, breeding pairs may become aggressive. Individual green singing finches vary greatly as concerns their tolerance of other species, so you will need to experiment a bit if you plan on mixing them. Mixed species grouping should only be attempted in a large, outdoor aviary – in a typical indoor cage, they will not get along with other birds.
Other species that may be tried with green singing finches include red-crested cardinals, larger finches such as bullfinches, goldfinches and certain waxbills, diamond and other small doves and Japanese quail.
Green singing finches have lived for over 20 years in captivity.
Please see “Reproduction”, above. Although an open cup nest is typical, some green singers will also utilize a nest box. Additional green food, in the form of grass and other plant sprouts, as well as insects, is required when the pair is raising young. The parents tend to leave the nest at even slight disturbances. They usually return quickly, but when breeding should be provided with as much privacy as possible.