Description: The small, gregarious Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) is a beautiful African finch with gorgeous scarlet plummage on the male, and brown underparts on the female. Firefinches belong to the order of Passeriformes, family Estrildidae, genus Lagonosticta (from the Greek “lagonos” meaning flank and “sticta” meaning spotted) and are restricted to the African continent. There are 12 recognized species of Firefinches, but the Red-Billed Firefinch is one of the few entirely red-colored birds available to aviculturists.
Geography: The Red-Billed Firefinch is typically found in savannahs, over-grown shrubs and lightly wooded areas of Africa. Fire finches come from mostly arid regions, so damp conditions should be avoided. Sand is the preferred ground cover for aviaries. They prefer bright and sunny conditions but should always have access to water and shade. All species of fire finch spend a lot of time on or near the ground and like stones or very low perches that keep them off the cage bottom.
Song / Call: Click to hear the Red-Billed Firefinch.
Size / Weight: Including their tail, the Red-Billed Firefinch is less than 12 cm (4.72 in) in total length.
Sexing: The gender of a Red-Billed Firefinch is easily determined by the female containing a brown chest, whereas the male's chest is bright scarlet in color.
Temperament: Firefinches are quite amiable towards other finches and small softbills, and are excellent candidates for mixed species aviaries. Their even temperament allows for colony breeding. Although somewhat shy in close confines, in large cages and aviaries they seem much more at ease and willing to show us a great many interesting behaviors.
Breeding: Fire finches are not aggressive birds and can be mixed safely with other species but breeding results are usually better when they are housed in small groups or as single pairs. Various species of fire finch can be housed together without aggression, but hybridizing can happen so just one species per enclosure is ideal.
Lifespan: 5-6 years
Diet: A high quality Classic Finch Seed, should form the basis of their diet, but a steady supply of insects is essential if Fire finches are to remain to remain in good color and peak condition. The Red-Billed Firefinch also enjoy millet, Australian Blend Goldenfeast, Dried Egg Food, Mineral Grit and fresh greens.
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