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Bengalese Finch

 (other names: Society Finch)

Bengalese Finch
life expectancy:5 years
scientific name:Lonchura domestica
distribution:Not found in the wild
family:Estrildidae
dimensions:10 to 13 cm
compatibility: very goodsinging ability: goodloudiness: loud
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History [ edit ]

The Bengalese Finch, also known as Society Finch, is the only finch that doesn’t occur in the wild. This is a domesticated form of another finch, which wasn’t clearly identified. Some experts defend that this bird came about from cross-breeding with the Striated Mannikin (Lonchura striata), but the lack of proofs still leaves many in doubt. Being so, the Society Finch descends from the White-rumped Mannikin and was probably bred in Chine centuries ago.

Nonetheless, it is curious that this bird that can´t be found in the wild is actually one of the most favored of it´s group.

We can pick up history in mid 1800s when the London Zoo bought a pair of Bengalese Finches, introducing them to the Occident.

The name “Society Finch” reportedly comes from the sociability of this bird, able to get along with many different species and generally used as foster parent of other finches.
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Housing [ edit ]

The Bengalese Finches are hardy birds and very adaptable. They are capable of living in outdoors aviaries as well as in indoor cages. However they live happier in an aviary where they can socialize. When outdoors in especially cold winters, they may need heating. They are very outgoing and friendly and tend to form partnerships with the same sex if there are no specimens of the opposite sex available. 

Give them plants, like leafed branches to make their home a little bit cozier. But beware of poisonous plants. Perches should be made out of softwood trees. These finches like to sleep in nests at night and they will all try to fit in just one.

These finches like to bathe so make room for a tub that should have always fresh water.  
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Diet [ edit ]

It’s not difficult to feed a Bengalese Finch. Foreign finch seeds mix and green food, like lettuce, spinach and chickweed, will do the trick. Egg food should also be given regularly. Apple makes a good treat.
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Temperament [ edit ]

These birds are extremely sociable and they will do well in species of the same size and temperament. Very gregarious, they are known for being extremely easy to breed. These peaceful birds have loud voices, but as boisterous singers the melodies shouldn’t upset the neighbors. Only the male sings, while the female vocalizations are extremely limited. The mating song of the male is usually accompanied by a hopping dance on a perch and the fluffing of the feathers, especially the tail. 
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Description [ edit ]

The Society Finch is considered to be chocolate in his original form, although there is no way to prove it since there´s no wild birds of this specie. The beak is grayish, darker on top, and the surrounding feathers are very dark, almost black. The body is covered by different brown shades, lighter on the chest area, and almost creamy in the belly. Although named as a solid color, the plumage of this bird as a pattern that resembles the White-rumped Mannikin.

This specie can only be sexed by their behavior since they are visually alike. The cock sings and dances, while the hen only is able to make a few sounds. 
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Mutations [ edit ]

There are many color variations within this specie. Some of the most popular are:

Pied – The first known mutation of this bird. The scalloped pattern created can be combined with different colors. It is caused by the lack of pigmentation in some feathers across the whole body. The great majority of these birds are pieds. These markings can´t be predicted on a bird, since all pieds have individual patterns.

Fawn – A pale brown plumage, a bit orangey, this mutation is considered one of the oldest. Some have white markings on the heads. The beak is almost unpigmented, which means they have a pinkish tonality.

Chestnut – The overall color is between chocolate and fawn.

Crested – Like Budgerigars, Society Finches breeders have developed crested birds, called Bonten by the Japonese. The feathers of the crest are close to the head and not pointy, resembling a toupee.

Other mutations:
Albinos, dilutes, greys, other feather mutations like chest or neck frills.
 
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