Owl Finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii)
Owl finches (Taeniopygia bichenovii also Poephila bichenovii) are commonly called bicheno finches after their species name. The name "owl finch" is derived from their patterning and coloration because it resembles that of an owl.
Owl finches are small birds from Australia, reaching an adult size of approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
They are social birds that live in groups. In captivity you must keep at least two or more owl finches together, otherwise you will have one unhappy and lonely bird.
Owl finches mix well with other peaceful finch species.
Their call (or song) is said to resemble that of a meowing kitten, although I really don't think it sounds all that much like a kitten, but that is how their call is commonly described. You can see for yourself in the You Tube video below and decide what you think about the sound.
Well, perhaps their call does sound a little like a kitten.
Owl finches are nest sleepers - meaning that they like to sleep in a nest as opposed to a perch. In the wild they build their nests in the branches of trees and bushes using dry grasses (as shown in the photo above).
If you give them lots of privacy they will breed in a cage or aviary, providing that you have provided the proper nesting site and materials (e.g., coconut fibers, paper strips, dry grasses). You can provide them with a commercial nesting box and the proper materials and see if they will accept this. However, like most finch species, it is best not to let them breed until they are at least 9 months old.
It is nearly impossible to sex owl finches because the males and females look very similar to one another. The male has a courtship song and so you may be able to sex them by behavioral cues.
If you have a mating pair the female will lay 4-5 eggs which will hatch in close to two weeks. Both the male and female owl finch will take turns sitting on the eggs.
Most owl finches will eat your standard finch mix, as well as insect food, such as mealworms, and egg food. They enjoy spray millet. They will also need to have access to cuttlebone. Keep them in a large flight cage or aviary.
For more information on keeping and breeding owl finches, as well as to hear clips of the song of the male and female owl finch, and photos of newly hatched baby owl finches, please see Owl Finch Info.