Courtesy Marcus Pollard
The green singing finch is closely related to the wild canary.
You learned about four fab finches for your aviaries in the May 2009 issue of BIRD TALK magazine. Let’s take a look at another fab finch: the green singing finch (Serinus mozambicus). The finch is a member of the family Fringillidae, or the true finches.
The green singer, as it is commonly known, is a small, yellowish seed eater that hails from Africa, and is closely related to the wild canary. The green singer is one of the smallest members of the genus Serinus and, as such, is ideally sized to mix in with Estrildidae finches.
Much has been written about the aggression of these finches, but I find that they are tolerant of the finch species mentioned to date — the star finch, the zebra finch, the painted firetail finch and the red-faced parrot finch — and that defense of their nest site and its contents was the only time I witnessed them “seeing off” other finches. Most finches took the hint when the adult bird squatted down and approached them along the perch with wings lowered; for all the finches, this was good enough and they never actually came to blows. However, if you keep Cuban melodious finches (Tiaris canora), it might be a different story.
In keeping with all Fringillidae finches, the nest is an open cup located in a convenient bush, a canary-type nesting basket or even in a small tin placed on the aviary wall. From my experience, one of their favorite nesting materials is cotton wool and coconut fiber. Some people frown at the use of cotton wool, but there are numerous brands on the market now that are almost pure cotton with very little synthetic material in them; ideal for finches. Still it pays to be ultra-observant and check that birds do not become entangled in strands of cotton wool.
You will know when your green singers are nesting, because the aviary or cage will look like a snow storm has hit, with bits of cotton wool spread everywhere with a tell-tale trail leading toward the nest.
Two to four chicks are usually reared by their devoted parents. At this time, ensure that they have access to plenty of green food and a canary-type soft food mix will help the rearing process. Live food is readily taken, but many raise them with green seed heads and soaked/sprouted seeds alone.
Although not as good a vocalist as their cousin, the grey singing finch (S. leucopygius), green singers still have a pleasant song that contrasts well with our other finches, and singers are an active and different inclusion to our finch aviary.