Home | Bird Species Profiles | Introducing the Parrot Finches: the Brightly Colored Birds of the Genus Erythrura

Introducing the Parrot Finches: the Brightly Colored Birds of the Genus Erythrura


Parrot finches are aptly named…the bright green plumage common to many, set off by red and blue, does bring to mind a tiny Amazon parrot.  They are quite unique in appearance from other finches, and once seen cannot easily be mistaken for anything else.  Some are among the most highly prized of all cage birds, but 2 species are well established in captivity and readily available.

Some Preliminary Considerations

Parrot finches average only 5 inches in length, but are very active, even by finch standards.  They should be given a larger cage than their size alone would indicate.  All species are native to warm climates and, while some can be acclimatized to cool temperatures, they do best when kept fairly warm.


Dietary variety is an important consideration in keeping parrot finches…all species that are regularly kept take a wider range of food than do most related birds.  In order to ensure that all bases are covered, the basic diet should consist of a mix of 2 high quality foods, such as Fiesta Finch Food  and Vita Bird Finch Food.

Parrot finches seem to have fairly high protein requirements, and relish egg food and small insects.  Bits of fruit and sprouts  should also be offered regularly.


Parrot finches occur from Southeast Asia to New Guinea and northern Australia, and on many of the numerous islands within that range.  Twelve to thirteen species are recognized.  The popular gouldian finch was formerly classified as a parrot finch, but most ornithologists no longer classify it so.

Popular Species

The blue-faced parrot finch, E. trichroa, is the most commonly seen species and breeds well in captivity.  The red-headed parrot finch, E. psittacea, is also fairly well known…in the wild it is found only on New Caledonia.  One of the most colorful parrot finches is the nonpareil, or pintailed parrot finch, E. prasina.  Attractively clad in blue, red, yellow and green, this little gem is a bit delicate and does not breed as readily as the 2 species just mentioned.

You can read about the natural history and conservation status of the nonpareil and other parrot finches at:


This website has some good parrot finch pictures. Check them out here.




  1. avatar

    Nice article. One thing you have not mentio0ned though is finches can be prone to worms. Although this is not a bad thing and can be treated it is something that people should keep in mind.

    Your Aviaries Expert

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your kind comment.

    Finches and other cage birds can be host to a wide variety of internal parasites, including nematodes such as Synhimantus spp. and Acuaria spp. These can be detected via fecal testing if suspected, and most respond readily to treatment, especially if the problem is addressed early-on. Submitting fecal samples for analysis is also a good idea when new birds are added to a collection.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top