|Subspecies:||L. s. domestica|
|Lonchura striata domestica
The society finch (North America) or Bengalese finch (elsewhere), Lonchura striata domestica or L. domestica, is a popular cage bird not found in the wild.
It is a member of the estrildid finch family. Many authorities call it a domestic form of the white-rumped munia (known in aviculture as the striated finch), at least probably, though some state that it originated as a hybrid of this species with others in the genus Lonchura. A DNA study found that it was more closely related to the white-rumped munia than either bird is to the zebra finch, the chestnut-breasted munia, or the "Silver Bill" (presumably the Indian silverbill), indicating that it originated from the white-rumped.
While two males may not get along without other company, it has been found the best "pairing" for fostering is to use two males, this works better than either two females or a male and female pairing. Two males will usually accept eggs, or even partly grown young without any hesitation.
These birds like to be close together and tend to all roost in one nest if kept in a group. In an aviary they lay eggs and crowd into a single nest, interfering with incubation (which is performed by the female and lasts 16 days) or damaging the eggs. Thus they breed better if kept as single pairs in individual breeding boxes. This sociability is also responsible for their American name of "society finch".
They are cheerful little birds that are quite easy to look after. They are also quite easy to breed provided they are, of course, adequately sexed. Obtaining a female-male pair can present a difficulty because both sexes look exactly the same at first glance. However, it is possible to determine gender by behavior since males tend to display to impress and court females. The best way of using this method to sex Bengalese is to place a single bird in a small cage and completely isolate it from its own kind (both sight and hearing) for several hours; then introduce another Bengalese to the cage. If the first bird is a male it will immediately display to the newcomer. Unfortunately this does not necessarily mean the introduced bird is a female. But if the first bird does not display it is almost certainly a hen.
They are generally given a diet of seeds, such as millets and canary seed, and greens. They will not usually take live-foods, but it has been found they will often accept housefly pupae, which they crack like seeds. This is particularly useful if they are being used to foster species that require a high protein component to be successfully reared.
In experimental biology
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