Society finch

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Society finch
Society Finch light brown.jpg
Conservation status
Domesticated
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Lonchura
Species: L. striata
Subspecies: L. s. domestica
Trinomial name
Lonchura striata domestica
Linnaeus, 1758
A close flock of society finches


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),[1][2] at least probably,[3] though some state that it originated as a hybrid of this species with others in the genus Lonchura.[4][5] 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.[6]

Bengalese finches are well adapted to captivity and the company of humans. They breed well[1] and are good foster parents for other finch-like birds.[7]

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.[1] 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.[citation needed]

They are generally given a diet of seeds, such as millets and canary seed, and greens.[1] 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.[citation needed]

In experimental biology[edit]

Society finches have been used extensively in research on imprinting[8] and on bird vocalizations, often comparing the structure of their songs to syntax.[6][9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Koepff, Christa; Romagnano, April (2001). The Finch Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 126–127. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  2. ^ Price, Trevor (2008). Speciation in Birds. Roberts and Co. p. 164. ISBN 0-9747077-8-3. 
  3. ^ Warren, Dean M. (2002). Small Animal Care and Management. Cengage Learning. p. 325. ISBN 0-7668-1424-6. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  4. ^ Alderton, David (1998). The Complete Guide to Bird Care. Howell Book House. p. 24. ISBN 0-87605-038-0. 
  5. ^ Rogers, Cyril; Clear, Val (1975). Encyclopedia of Cage and Aviary Birds. Macmillan. p. 117. 
  6. ^ a b Okanoya, Kazuo (2004). "Song Syntax in Bengalese Finches: Proximate and Ultimate Analyses". In Slater, Peter. J. B., et al. Advances in the Study of Behavior, Volume 34. Academic Press. pp. 297–346. ISBN 0-12-004534-6. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  7. ^ Roots, Clive (2007). Domestication. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 91. ISBN 0-313-33987-2. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  8. ^ McFarland, David (1999). Animal Behaviour: Psychobiology, Ethology, and Evolution. Longman. p. 369. ISBN 0-582-32732-6. 
  9. ^ Hilliard, Austin T.; White, Stephanie (2009). "Possible Precursors of Syntactic Components in Other Species". In Bickerton, Derek; Szathmáry, Eörs. Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax. MIT Press. pp. 161–183. ISBN 0-262-01356-8. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  10. ^ Abe, Kentaro; Watanabe, Dai (2011-06-26). "Songbirds Possess the Spontaneous Ability to Discriminate Syntactic Rules". Nature Neuroscience. doi:10.1038/nn.2869. Retrieved 2011-07-14. . Abstract only without fee.

External links[edit]