The Diamond Firetail Finch
|Emblema guttata or Stagonopleura guttata|
|Singing ability:||No Data|
|Compatibility:||Aggressive, may mix well with other aggressive species|
|Size:||4.5" (11.5 cm)|
|Approx. cost:||$60-120 (US) per bird|
Other common names
Diamond Sparrow (misnomer), Diamond Fire-tail, Spotted-sided Finch
Area of distribution
Eastern Australia: from southern Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island in South Australia through most of Victoria and eastern New South Wales, north to Carnarvon in Queensland.
Bold and assertive. Individuals vary in how aggressive they are, giving the species an unpredictable temperament. Diamond Firetails tend to become particularly aggressive while breeding, especially towards closely-related Australian finch species such as zebra finches, owl finches, and shaft-tail finches.
Silvery grey head with black lores, white chin and throat, red eye rings, and maroon beak. The back and wings are deep grey-brown, the rump crimson, the tail black. The chest has a black band across it, the flanking is black with white dots, the belly is white, and the legs are dark grey. The juvenile has an olive-gray head, black beak, brown flanks, and white underparts.
Mutations include: fawn (where the dark brown-grey areas of the bird are replaced with a soft brown, and the black feathers become dark brown), yellow (where the bird has an orange bill, orange rump, and orange eye ring), and a combination of fawn and yellow.
Because this species is monomorphic, visual sexing is nearly impossible. Hens may seem duller, have smaller skulls, or a paler pink beak in comparison to the cocks, but the most reliable method of sexing is that the cock will sing and perform a courtship display using a blade of grass.
The cock's song consists of very low, raspy calls.
If you keep this species and have a photo of your birds to share, please submit your photo
for possible inclusion on this site! Credit will be given to you.
Photo by Lip Kee Yap
Photo by Rich H.
Photo by Andrew Hall
Photo by Patricia Stockebrand
Photo by Patricia Stockebrand
Greenfood (e.g. dandelion), millet, live food
(e.g. ant pupae, mealworms).
Eucalypt forest and open woodland near water, gardens, cultivated areas.
Pair bonds are strong and mated pairs often remain together for life. Outside of the mating season, these finches form loose groups of up to 30 birds. Pairs breed in a colony fashion. Diamond Firetails prefer to roost in a nest at night, and should always have nesting material available to build roosting structures. Because they enjoy hopping on the ground, their enclosure should include a large, open floor space. This species drinks water by sucking.
If housed in a cage, Diamond Firetail finches become inactive and are prone to obesity. Although robust, Diamond Firetails should not be subjected to low temperatures (below 54°F or 12°C), especially while breeding. Wild populations seem to have been in decline since the 1960's due largely to habitat destruction. Diamond Firetails have reportedly hybridized with a number of species including zebra finches, society finches, shaft-tail finches, and crimson finches, so take care to prevent cross-breeding if housing these species together.
August to January in the wild. Some pairs have been reported to breed nearly year-round, only ceasing in June and July.
Male-female pairs will not breed unless they are compatible. The best way to ensure a compatible pair is to house a group of individuals together, and allow the birds to choose their own mates. Pairs may be bred in this colony fashion if they are housed in a very large, well-planted aviary; otherwise, each pair will need to be bred in its own large flight cage. A male will court a female by holding a long, stiff piece of grass in his bill while fluffing out his spotted flank feathers, standing up straight, and bobbing up-and-down on a perch. He will sing, and if the hen approaches, he may mimic the begging posture of fledglings by bowing low, turning his head toward her, and opening his beak. Copulation usually occurs in the privacy of the nest. Pairs tend to nest in large nest boxes and shrubs, often fairly close to the ground. Nests should be secluded with dense cover to provide pairs with a sense of security. Provide coconut fiber, long blades of fresh grass, sisal, and feathers for nesting material. Wild Diamond Firetails build nests using blades of grass, seed heads, and roots; the location of the nest is often in mistletoe bunches, bushes, eucalyptus trees, acacias, and occasionally in the lower portions of the stick-nests created by birds of prey. The inside of the nest is lined with plant silks and feathers. Both sexes share incubation, and both will roost in the nest at night. It is not uncommon for pairs to continue adding material to the nest even after incubation has begun. Provide soaked seed and egg food
for rearing purposes. Live food
is not necessary, but may increase the odds of successful breeding if it is provided. Both sexes will feed the chicks and brood the young until they are 10 days of age. Some pairs will create a second entrance to their nest once their chicks have hatched; this is thought to act as an "emergency exit."
Because Diamond Firetails are intolerant of nest inspection, avoid nest checks
(which can lead to the parents abandoning their eggs or young). Once the young are weaned, they should be moved to their own enclosure.
|Clutch size:||5-6 eggs|
|Incubation date:||After the 2nd egg is laid|
|Hatch date:||After 13 days of incubation|
|Fledge date:||At 21-26 days of age|
|Begin molt:||Around 4 weeks of age|
|Finish molt:||Around 12 weeks of age|
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Diamond Firetail Finches