Housing Mixed Species Together

In order to create a peaceful community for different finch species housed together, you must know which species tend to get along and which species tend to squabble. Finches with similar sizes and dispositions are usually suitable companions for each other, with some notable exceptions. Below is a list of many common finches and who should get along with whom in an aviary (a "compatibility chart" or table).8,10,11,12,13 Please keep in mind that the list below is based on a general stereotype for each species, and that within a species, individuals may have their own personalities which differ from the stereotype. Use your own judgment therefore to determine if individuals within your aviary are truly compatible in a mixed flight. Note that overcrowding birds will cause quarrels, so take steps to ensure that your birds are housed together in a large enough enclosure that is properly accessorized to reduce quarreling.

  • Red Text indicates birds which typically become rather aggressive during the breeding period.
  • indicates birds which should be housed alone (each pair in its own enclosure) for successful breeding to take place (this is not a concern if you do not plan to breed).
  • indicates birds which are aggressive towards each other, and so should be limited to only one pair per mixed aviary.
Tier 1 - Passive

These birds are generally docile and can usually be kept with other birds within this tier. As always, observe the birds to make sure they are getting along.
Avadavats (Red & Green)
Black-cheeked Waxbill
Black-rumped Waxbill (Red-eared Waxbill)
Blue-breasted Parrot-finch
Blue-faced Parrot-finch
Bronze-winged Mannikin
Button Quail
Chestnut Munia
Chestnut-breasted Finch/Mannikin/Munia
Common Waxbill (Saint Helena Waxbill)
Cordon Bleu Waxbills (do not mix with Purple Grenadiers)
Gold Breasted Waxbill
Gray-headed Munia
Green Twinspots (do not mix with Star Finches)
Lady Gouldian Finch
Mannikins, Munias, Nuns
Masked Grass Finch
Masked Firefinch
Orange Cheeked Waxbill
Owl (Bicheno) Finch
Painted Finch
Pearl-headed Silverbill
Pictorella Finch/Mannikin
Pin-tailed Parrot-finch
Quail Finch
Red-headed Parrot-finch
Silverbills (African & Indian)
Society (Bengalese) Finch
Spice Finch
Star Finch (do not mix with Melba Finches or Twinspots)
Swee Waxbill
White-backed Munia
White-headed Munia
Yellow-rumped Finch
Yellow-winged Pytilia
Tier 2 - Pushy

These birds may be housed together in a large enclosure with visual barriers, but watch them to make sure they are not unduly harassing each other. Shaft-tail Finches may be suitable companions for some of the birds from Tier 1 as well.
Aurora Finch
Dark Firefinch
European Goldfinch
Green Singing Finch
Lavender Finch
Orange-winged Pytilia (do not mix with Melba Finches)
Purple Grenadier (do not mix with Cordon Bleus or Violet Eared Waxbills)
Shaft-tail Finch (Long-tailed or Heck's Grassfinch) - (do not mix with Parsons or Masked Grassfinch)
Zebra Finch
Tier 3 - Aggressive

These birds need a very spacious enclosure with plenty of visual barriers in order to be housed together. Keep a close eye on them and separate birds that quarrel. *Note that the Java Finch is a peaceful bird that may be housed with birds from Tier 2 and possibly Tier 1, but is placed in Tier 3 because of its intimidating size and ability to coexist with the other birds in Tier 3.
Cutthroat Finch (do not mix with waxbills)
Diamond Firetail Finch (do not mix with other Australian finches)
Gray Singing Finch
Java Sparrow/Finch (see *Note above)
Melba Finch (do not mix with other Pytilias, or finches with red masks [e.g. Star Finches])
Saffron Finch
Finches which are generally not suited for a mixed aviary include: Bar-breasted Firefinches, Crimson Finches, Cuban Melodious Finches, Parson Finches, Peter's Twinspots, Red-headed Finches, and Violet Eared Waxbills.

For more detailed information about many of the species listed above, please refer to the Species Profiles.

Parsons finch After selecting the species you would like to keep in a mixed aviary (and making sure that each bird is healthy -- see Introducing New Birds), place all of the birds in a proper enclosure simultaneously and monitor them closely, especially for the first couple of weeks until they are settled in. If serious quarreling occurs, remove the aggressors and any injured birds. Because many finches become more aggressive during the breeding period, it may be wise to discourage breeding, especially in smaller enclosures. Never allow different species to interbreed, as hybrids are undesirable at best. They may be mistaken for other species (for example, the society × spice finch hybrid looks very similar to a chocolate self society finch), and if they are fertile, they run the risk of "contaminating" the gene pools of pure species with foreign genes. This may serve to dilute and deteriorate the integrity of the species that the hybrids are bred to.

Finches may be housed with canaries provided that the temperament and body size of the finches and canaries are as similar as possible, and that the requirements of both species (dietary, housing, etc.) are being met. As always, separate the birds if they refuse to coexist peacefully. Never mix finches with hooked-bills (parrots).
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