Long-tailed Finch

Poephila acuticauda

"Fair Choice" Pet Fair Choice

The Long-tailed Finch is a small songbird that is native to the dry grasslands of northern Australia. They feature a striking plumage and stout bills that range in color from yellow to bright red. In the pet trade, the species is known by various names including Black-heart Finch, Heck's Finch, Shaft-tail Finch, and Orange-billed Finch. These birds can live 7 to 9 years in captivity.

Did You Know?

Commercial trapping of finches was banned in Australia in 1987.

Source Sustainability Best Choice

Does the harvest for wildlife trade or captive breeding of this species harm wild populations?

Little Cause for Concern

Long-tailed Fiches were formerly captured for the pet trade; some 80,000 wild birds were trapped from 1974 to 1986. Commercial trapping of finches was banned in Australia in 1987. There is no evidence that wild populations of Long-tailed Finches are currently at risk of extinction in their native range.

Long-tailed Finches breed well in captivity. They have multiple clutches of 5 to 7 eggs per year, so harvesting wild animals for the pet trade is unnecessary.

PetWatch Recommendation:

Only purchase a pet Long-tailed Finch from a reputable breeder or distributor to ensure that you are not buying an illegally wild-caught and/or imported animal. Additionally, ask for proof that your animal was captive-bred; EcoHealthy Pets strongly recommends only purchasing captive-bred birds to ensure that wild populations can continue to thrive.

Invasion Threat Unable to Rank Choice

Does the release or escape of this species into the wild harm the environment and/or economy?

Unable to Rank

PetWatch found no evidence that Long-tailed Finches have established wild populations outside their native range.

PetWatch Recommendation:

Make sure that your Long-tailed Finch is always kept inside an enclosure and does not have the opportunity to escape. Never release a pet into the wild.

Animal Welfare Fair Choice

Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or being kept as a pet harm individual animals?

Some Cause for Concern

There is no evidence that Long-tailed Finches are mistreated in the legal pet trade. We found no evidence that these birds are being sold illegally.

Long-tailed Finches are very adaptable and usually do well in captivity, but they do not like to be handled. They are more apt to thrive if part of a colony in a large aviary. Long-tailed Finches are inquisitive and may inadvertently provoke aggressive behavior if kept with more dominant species.

PetWatch Recommendation:

When obtaining a Long-tailed Finch, ask for proof that it was captive bred from a reputable breeder with a permit to sell the animal. Given the lack of oversight, animals in the illegal wildlife trade may be mistreated.

Health Threat Fair Choice

Does this animal pose a health risk to native wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?

Some Cause for Concern

Long-tailed Finches are known to host multiple parasites, including nematodes that can cause infection in humans. Additionally, these finches can be carriers of the following diseases: Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis), Salmonellosis, Campylobacteriosis, New Castles Disease, Allergic Alveolitus, Mycobacteriosis (tuberculosis), Influenza, Giardia, and Cryptosporidiosis.

PetWatch Recommendation:

When purchasing a pet Long-tailed Finch, ask for proof of a clean bill of health. Ask the seller if the animal has been checked by a certified veterinarian and for a list of any medical treatments the animal has received.

EcoHealth Alliance works at the intersection of ecosystem, animal and human health through local conservation programs and develops global health solutions to emerging diseases.
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