The Saffron Finch

Saffron Finch8,10,11
Sicalis flaveola
Reproduction:May breed readily in captivity
Singing ability:Hearty but repetitive
Compatibility:Aggressive, mixes well with other aggressive species
[Compatibility Chart]
Size:6" (15.2 cm)
Approx. cost:$100 (US) per pair

Other common names

Brazilian Saffron Finch, Sparrow Finch, Yellow Finch


South America

Area of distribution

Most of South America including: Netherlands Antilles, Colombia, Suriname, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guyanas (also introduced to: Hawaii and Jamaica among other places).


These birds should be evaluated on an individual pair basis. They may be spiteful or intimidating to smaller, more passive species, although some pairs are fairly tolerant (if a large enough enclosure is provided). They may become more aggressive during breeding.

Physical descriptions

Black maxilla (upper beak), pale mandible (lower beak), greenish yellow back, yellow under parts, wing and tail feathers are black lined with yellow, dark pink legs. The cock often has an orange forehead while the hen often has more dark streaks.


The hen is more dull in color and her under parts are paler. She may appear to be similarly colored to a juvenile (being mostly gray with dark streaks). However, as the birds age their color tends to become more intense, so that older hens may appear brighter than cocks in their first adult plumage.


No data.


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.




Photos by Emily Hoyer:

Photo by Emily Hoyer

Photo by Emily Hoyer

Photo by Emily Hoyer

Favorite foods

Live food (insects), greens, oats.

Natural habitat

These birds are found in the open and semi-open lowland areas (grasslands and brushy areas) of South America. When breeding, they may build their own nests in tree hollows or may make use of abandoned Horneros' nests (a spherical, soccer-ball sized mud nest).


During the winter these birds live in flocks, and during Spring they pair off for breeding. They do not migrate.

Special considerations

No data.

Breeding season

Spring and Summer (in South America).

Breeding tips

These species may breed in either an aviary or a cage. Being cavity nesters, they appear to prefer a half-open (6") budgerigar nest box.

Life Cycle

Clutch size:3-5 eggs
Incubation:Done by the hen
Hatch date:After 12-14 days of incubation; chicks are fed by both parents
Fledge date:At 14-17 days of age
Wean date:4 weeks of age (remove as soon as they are independent)
First molt:12-18 months of age

Related Article(s)

If you own this species and would like to write an article about your experiences with them for this page, please submit your article for possible inclusion on this site. Credit will be given to you!

Saffron Finches

Has this article helped you? Please consider making a donation to keep online and growing!

Disclaimer: As the creator of, I take no responsibility for any mishaps which you may experience in following any advice given, nor in purchasing any products suggested. I will therefore not be liable for any consequences that arise from following any advice provided in these pages.

External SiteExternal sites open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Proceeds will be used to help this site grow.

©2016 No part of this page (including, but not limited to pictures, articles, advice, logo, or otherwise) may be copied or retransmitted by any means without expressed written permission from the author/creator of this page.

This page is hosted by DreamHostExternal Site.

Styles: Former FIC | Art Deco | Spring | Magazine