The Red Avadavat (Strawberry Finch)

Strawberry Finch8,10,11,12,13,23
Amandava amandava
Waxbill
Hardiness:Hardy when acclimatized
Reproduction:Somewhat difficult
Singing ability:Excellent
Compatibility:Passive, mixes well with other passive species
[Compatibility Chart]
Size:4" (10 cm)
Approx. cost:$80-$100 (US) per pair


Other common names

Red Avadavat, Avadavat, Red Munia, Strawberry Waxbill, Tiger Finch, Amaduvade, Strawberry Finch

Origin

Asia

Area of distribution

India, China, Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam), Java (of the Greater Sunda Islands), Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, Timor, Alor).

Disposition

Somewhat aggressive to birds of the same species and color, especially defensive of the nest.

Physical descriptions

When in color (which occurs seasonally), the male appears as follows: top of head and back are deep mahogany brown, sides of head, throat, chest and belly are scarlet, tail is black, flanks, wings and tail coverts have white spots, the rump is scarlet, the beak is red, the eye stripes are black with a white stripe just below each eye, and the feet are pink. When out of color, he appears similar to the hen: reddish brown with a few white spots, the throat and mid-belly being a creamy off-yellow, the sides of the body being light brown-gray, pink legs, red beak, black eye stripe. As the hen enters breeding condition, her tail feathers may become more black and her chest may develop a tinge of yellow-orange. Juveniles are dull grey-brown above and buffish white below; they have two pale wing bars due to buff-colored feather tips on their median and greater wing coverts; the beak is at first black but turns pink as they age.

Sexing

The cocks enter a more colorful scarlet nuptial plumage (usually from April until November) which the hens do not sport.

Pair of Strawberry Finches

Song

Song clip (.mp3, .18 MB)


Pictures

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.

Strawberry cocks:
Photo by Natalie Lavoie

Photo by Natalie Lavoie

Photo by Ananda Debnath




Strawberry cocks (left photo); Strawberry hen (right photo):

 


Strawberry cocks (note the varying amount of scarlet plumage):

Strawberry cock and juveniles:

Photo by Kishore Bhargava

Photo by Kishore Bhargava



Favorite foods

Insects - fruit flies, ant pupae, small, freshly molted meal worms, and sprouted seeds.

Natural habitat

Open brush, sugar cane fields, open woodland, and tall grassy areas alongside bodies of water (marshes with reed beds).

Habits

In the wild, strawberry finches live in large flocks outside of the breeding season, and pair off to breed. They are agile flyers and will often engage in clumping and allopreening between members of a pair. Females will clump and allopreen males in nonbreeding plumage if a red male is not present, but may act aggressive towards other females and brown males if a red male is present. Males in red plumage do not usually clump together.

Special considerations

Strawberry finches have a beautiful flute-like song. Do not house them with Goldbreasts (Amandava subflava) in order to prevent crossbreeding. Red Avadavats may require frequent nail clipping (in the wild, their nails are worn down as they perch on the rough stems of large grasses) as well as supplemented heat during the cooler months. Captive birds are prone to induced melanism, and apparently require exposure to warmth, sunshine, and adequate moisture to maintain their bright red plumage in later molts.

Breeding season

In the wild (in parts of Asia), strawberries breed during the second half of the monsoon season and during the following dry season.
  • Assam: June-August
  • Northern India: July-October
  • Southern India: October-March
  • Myanmar (Burma): August-January
  • Flores: April-June


Breeding tips

A well-planted outdoor aviary or at least a large indoor flight with full spectrum lighting and a few plants should be provided. One pair should be housed per flight. Providing live food will stimulate breeding. The courtship display is performed by both sexes and involves fluffing the body plumage, carrying a piece of grass or a feather in the bill, a slow bow, singing, and an additional bow. Males may initiate copulation by pecking at the hen's nape, or the hen may solicit copulation by quivering her tail. Pairs prefer to either nest in a large hooded oval bamboo nest or to make their own nest in some shrubbery, often near the ground. Long grasses (both stiff and soft) as well as coconut fiber are the preferred nest building materials. They may use light colored feathers to line the inside of the nest, and have reportedly taken pieces of burnt and charred wood into the nest as well. Cock birds can breed even when they are not in nuptial plumage. Both birds will incubate during the day, but only the hen incubates at night. Chicks are born dark skinned with brownish down; both parents feed the young.

Life Cycle

Clutch size:4-7 eggs (4 most common)
Incubation:Done by both parents.
Hatch date:After 11-14 days of incubation
Fledge date:At 20 days of age
Wean date:About 40 days of age


Related Article(s)

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Red Avadavats (Strawberry Finches)

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