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Zebra Finches as Pets


Zebra Finches as Pets Getty Images

Common Name:

Zebra Finch.

Scientific Name:

Peophila guttata.




Approximately 4 inches in length from the beak to the tip of the tail.

Average Lifespan:

With proper care, Zebra Finches have been reported to live up to 15 years in captivity.


Zebra Finches are extremely social birds that do best when kept in pairs or small flocks. Unlike many other pet bird species, Zebra Finches are quite skittish, generally do not bond with their owners, and most do not like being handled. However, they thrive on the company of their flockmates and tend to be very active in their little "communities".


While several color mutations exist in Zebra Finches, they are naturally a brownish-gray on their backs and wings, with white chests and bellies, bright red beaks, orange-red patches on their cheeks, and the characteristic black and white "zebra stripes" on their heads and necks. Their legs are also a bright red-orange color. Males exhibit the brightest colors in their plumage, while females tend to be more dull in general.


Zebra Finches seem to do best on a seed based diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables.


Zebra Finches are active birds and must be provided space in which to fly. Anyone interested in owning pet Zebra Finches should be prepared to purchase the largest flight cage they can for their new companions. Most Zebra Finches shy away from human interaction, so providing out of cage time isn't really an option. Because Zebra Finches spend the majority of their lives in their cages, providing a large cage that gives them access to free flight is key to their health and happiness.

Zebra Finches as Pets:

While most Zebra Finches prefer to spend time with other finches as opposed to their human caretakers, they remain one of the most popular pet bird species. Their soft, soothing voices and adorable looks have helped them retain popularity with bird lovers of all walks.

Because of their small size and quiet natures, Zebra Finches are popular choices as pets for children, the elderly, and those who live in apartments or condominiums. While they are tiny birds, however, they do require flight cages, and many finch owners find that their pets' cages often take up as much space as a larger parrot cage.

Zebra Finches are not a good choice as a pet for owners who want a bird that they can handle. Most prefer the company of other finches to that of humans, and they rarely bond with their owners. They are one of a few pet bird species that prefer to be seen, but not touched.

If you think keeping Zebra Finches sounds like fun, thoroughly research the species to make sure that you are able to provide for their needs. Keep in mind that keeping one Zebra Finch in rarely an option -- these very social birds should be kept in pairs or small flocks in order to thrive.

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