Full profile, history, and care for Java Finch

Java Finch

The lovely Java finch has been popular as a cage and aviary bird for many years because it is little, attractive, and quiet. These birds demand a "hands-off" attitude to bird caring, which makes them an excellent choice for both young and elderly bird owners looking for a low-maintenance bird. Their graceful in-cage flight maneuvers and relaxing melodies make them one of the most fascinating little birds to own and watch. You may need two or three, as they require the companionship of other finches. Also, verify your local regulations because some places make it illegal to keep this bird.

Species Overview

Common Names: Java finch, Java rice finch, Java sparrow, Java temple bird, paddy bird

Scientific Name: Lonchura oryzivora or sometimes Padda oryzivora (Some scientists group the Java finch and the Timor sparrow together.)

Adult Size: 5 to 6 inches

Life Expectancy: 5 to 10 years

Origin and History

The Java finch is endemic to the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali, and Bawean, as its name suggests. Sri Lanka, Hawaii, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico are also home to them. This finch is a threatened species in Java.

On grasslands and savannas, this Asiatic finch thrives in big groups. The birds have developed a taste for cultivated fields, notably rice fields. Farmers on several of the bird's native islands regard it as a nuisance. In certain regions where they are not native, the birds are prohibited. Feral populations pose a hazard to local agriculture if they emerge.

Temperament

Java finches are little, social birds but often are far too timid for direct human interaction. Some pet owners have reported success in bonding with their finch, though.

They usually live in pairs or small flocks within a flying cage. These birds should not be kept by themselves. Without another finch to keep them company, they will most likely get melancholy.

Aside from that, these birds are non-aggressive, quiet, and docile. They get along swimmingly with other finch species, both large and little. A pair of Javas may be a fantastic addition to an aviary with a variety of birds. The only time they display violence is when two male Javas are fighting, and even then it is little.

Speech and Vocalizations

The vocalizations of the Java finch are quite soothing, with a distinct chip-chip-chip song. Males pursue females by singing songs that incorporate a drum-like clicking sound with their beak. This is akin to how a human beatboxes or claps their hands in time to music.

Java Finch Colors and Markings

The Java finch has a gray back and black head and tail feathers in its native state. Their breasts and belly are grayish-cinnamon in hue, and their cheeks have big white patches. Some people compare them to little penguins.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Java finch is the thin orange ring around their eyes. They also have bright reddish-orange beaks and bright orange skin on their legs and feet. 

The males and females of the species have the same plumage coloration. There are a few techniques to tell the sexes apart, but without a side-by-side comparison, it's difficult. Males, for example, have darker eyes and a larger, blunter beak that expands at the tip during breeding season. Looking at which bird is singing is the best method to sex these finches. Only the males sing, while the females call. A male may take a long time to sing, however some birders claim that most will after a week of seclusion. If you raise a bunch of finches, distinguishing between them can be challenging, but it can be done with careful attention and banding.

Java finches come in a variety of colors in the pet trade. Pied javas, agate javas, black-headed javas, cinnamon or fawn javas, cream javas, dark and light silver javas, and white javas are some of the varieties.

Caring for Java Finches

These finches have become highly popular pet birds among individuals who have limited room and cannot keep a larger bird species due to their small size. If you want to adopt a Java finch, you should plan on taking in at least two or three.

The cage for Java finches must be large enough to facilitate flying and will vary depending on how many birds you maintain. In general, a 7-foot-high aviary would be perfect. If you don't have room for an aviary, you'll need a cage that's at least 18 inches wide, 30 inches long, and 18 inches high, with 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch bar spacing.

Unless you intend to breed the birds, nesting boxes are not required. To keep them entertained, provide plenty of perches, ladders, swings, and toys. They also like to bathe, so a dish of water for this will be very welcomed.

Except when it becomes too hot or too cold, Java finches are prolific breeders who will reproduce all year. If you want to retain a non-breeding aviary, same-sex pairs are the best option. Remove any nesting boxes or deposited eggs as an alternative. Plant false eggs as decoys to guarantee your female doesn't compromise her health by constantly producing eggs to replace her "lost" eggs.

Common Health Problems

When properly cared for, Java finches are known to be a sturdy bird that seldom becomes ill. Nutritional deficits can be avoided by eating a well-balanced diet. They, like other birds, can contract a variety of avian illnesses from other birds, including:

  • Aspergillosis: a fungal disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Polyomavirus: a potentially deadly virus

Before introducing a new bird to your aviary, it is always best to quarantine your bird for six weeks and observe if your new bird exhibits any signs of ill health.

Diet and Nutrition

Although these birds are known for eating rice in the wild, their average diet comprises of seeds and fruits. Java finches in captivity should be given a high-quality seed mix. Every day, give your finches one to two teaspoons of high-quality finch and a teaspoon of specially made pellet food.

Many Java finch owners claim that feeding parakeet prepared mixtures instead of finch food works well. Because Java finches will pick out and destroy any seeds they don't want, it's critical to tailor the diet to their preferences.

Nuts, grains, and finely chopped, can be added to their seed mix and pellets. Crushed egg or oyster shells will help supply extra calcium to your birds. Cuttlebones are disliked by most javas.

Exercise

These are extremely busy small birds with seemingly infinite amounts of energy, as do all finch species. They will be able to fly, play, climb, leap, and exercise in a towering flying cage.

These birds are perfect pets for individuals who don't have the time to bond and engage with a parrot or other bird, as they don't require any out-of-cage time. They can keep themselves entertained as long as they have another bird and plenty of toys.

Pros
  • Not too loud and has a beautiful song

  • Does not require out-of-cage time or interaction

  • Gentle, non-agressive bird that usually gets along with other birds

Cons
  • Requires a large cage or aviary to get the exercise this energetic bird needs

  • Gets lonely easily; should be house with at least one to two companion birds

Where to Adopt or Buy a Java Finch

California, Georgia, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wyoming, Maine, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico make it unlawful to own these birds. To possess this species, your state may require a permission. In numerous places, legislation regulating legal ownership of these birds is pending. Consult your state's Fish and Wildlife Department before purchasing a Java finch.

Breeders sell Java finches, and adoption organizations occasionally have them available. Depending on the color mutation, they can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Some internet venues to look for available birds include:

  • The Finch Farm
  • Bird Breeders
  • Adopt a Pet

If you decide to go with a breeder, find out how long they've been breeding and working with the species. If possible, take a tour of their facilities. Look for evidence of the flock's general health. With bright eyes, pristine feathers, and full crops, the birds should be lively and alert.

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