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Breeding and Keeping the Nonpareil Finch or Pin-Tailed Parrot Finch

Nonpareil FinchWhen translated to English, the French language name for this little finch – Nonpareil – means “without equal”.  The name suits the gorgeous bird perfectly…so much so that aviculturists of all nationalities have adopted it.  Also known as the Pin-Tailed Parrot Finch (Erythrura prasina), the brilliantly-colored Nonpareil has long been among the most desired of all Southeast Asian finches.

My first experience with these beauties came while working for a bird importer.  I was captivated by their colors, but despaired over the stress caused them by shipment and confinement to quarantine facilities.  Fortunately, an experienced private breeder helped me to learn the keys to keeping them alive and well.


The 5.5 inch-long male Nonpareils are clad in “grass green”, bright red and brilliant blue, and sport elongated central tail feathers.  Females have shorter tails and are not as gaudy, but are also quite colorful.  While most related parrot finches are attractive (please see photos), none are as spectacular as the Nonpareil.

Yellow-bellied individuals are found in some wild populations, but are not common in captivity.  Birds originating from Borneo have more blue in the plumage, and are considered by most to be a subspecies.  Although few aviculturists see any need to experiment with color mutations, largely-green and pied strains have been established. Read More »

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.



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