The Gouldian finch is considered one of the most beautiful and colorful birds in the world. It's originally from Australia's northern region and its scientific name is the chloebia gouldiae. The bird's name is derived from John Gould, the first to describe the breed. Unfortunately, the bird now is an endangered species because of mass exportation, a practice banned by Australia in 1960. There are estimated to be just 2,500 mature adults left in the world.
The Gouldian finch is a medium-sized bird that, on average, measures 5 to 5 1/2 inches once mature. The males are slightly larger because of their long, center tail feather. The bird's colors are vibrant and naturally occurring, with the Gouldian often referred to as the "rainbow finch." Each Gouldian finch's colors vary: some have red heads while others have black and yellow heads.
Gouldian finches are shy creatures that do not like to be held or petted, even by long-time owners. Despite their aversion to human hands, Gouldian finches prefer to have at least one other finch friend for social purposes. Male finches will sing--a soft, pleasant chirp--but the female finches do not.
As a pet, the Gouldian finch diet ideally consists of various millet, seeds and grit. To ensure a healthy, balanced diet, Gouldians should also consume greens such as chickweed, spinach, lettuce or watercress. These greens provide Vitamin E, which is essential to the bird's health.
Common Health Problems
Two of the most prevalent health problems in Gouldian finches are air sac mites and eggbinding. Air sac mites is a respiratory ailment that makes it difficult for the finch to breathe properly. This can lead to serious issues and should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Eggbinding is also a serious problem that affects only female Gouldian finches that are trying to lay eggs. It's caused when the egg gets stuck in the birthing canal and the finch is unable to pass it. Symptoms include no appetite, weakness and sitting at the bottom of the cage. Eggbinding requires immediate attention.
The average lifespan of a Gouldian finch is six years. Finches will live longer if they have a well-maintained, balanced diet and an appropriate living situation--large cage, clean air and clean water. The birds should always be kept in pairs to ensure social happiness. When a Gouldian suffers from health issues it should be taken to an avian veterinarian for the best treatment.