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Introducing a Beautiful African Finch, the Green Twinspot

Parrots, pheasants, doves, shama thrushes – hobbyists are fortunate in having a great many species of widely differing birds available as pets.  It is the tiny and relatively inexpensive finches, however, that offer us the easiest route to a mixed collection of gorgeous species…among no other group is such a diversity of interesting and hardy birds so readily available. Today’s subject, the green twinspot (Mandingoa nitidula), is a perfect example.


Rich olive above and with nearly black wings and, in males, a bright red face, this 4 inch African native is a sight to behold.  What truly sets it apart is the breast and abdomen, which are jet black with numerous pure white spots.  The overall effect is of a fine hand-painted toy!

Natural and Captive Habitats

Green twinspots are birds of rather open country, but never stray far from thick brush or similar retreats.  They favor forest edges, woody scrub and the overgrown margins of rice fields and farms.  Captives fare best when given plenty of cover, with a well-planted outdoor aviary being ideal.

When housed indoors, they should be provided with as much room as possible – the Blue Ribbon Peaked Bird Cage  is perfect for 2 to 4 twinspots.  Some hanging silk plants  and thin cotton cable perches will make them feel right at home.


Green twinspots have higher protein requirements than most finches, and should be offered a diet rich in insects. They readily accept small crickets, mealworms and waxworms and, if kept outdoors, will spend hours chasing small flying insects (which, like minute falcons, they catch on the wing).


Zoo Med Anole Food (dried flies) , canned silkworms , Cede Eggfood  and bits of hard boiled egg should also be offered on a rotating basis.  A Vita Kraft Sprout Pot will enable you to offer your finches fresh shoots, a favored and important food item.  The balance of their diet can consist of high quality finch seed mix  to which has been added a bit of Pretty Bird Softbill Select .

Further Reading

You can read about the green twinspots in the wild at http://www.birdsinsa.com/birds/mandingoanitidula.htm.



About Frank Indiviglio

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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.
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