Gold-Breasted Waxbill


The impossibly tiny and colorful gold-breasted waxbill is a real avian treasure. Gold-breasted waxbills had been classified as a threatened species in the past but their numbers have recovered and they are now available to bird keepers worldwide. Gold-breasted waxbills are beautiful and peaceful, which makes them perfect for aviaries with a number of finches in the,m. Because they are so small, aviaries must have ½ by ½-inch wire minimum. For cages, 3/8- inch bar spacing is recommended to prevent gold-breasted waxbills from escaping.

Behavior / Health Concerns

Gold-breasted waxbills are tough for their size and rarely incur major health issues of any kind. They don’t require any special considerations as far as heat, and acclimated birds can live outdoors in some regions of the United States.

Gold-breasted waxbills are a long-lived species with some individuals reaching their mid-teens. In nature, gold-breasted waxbills spend most of their lives foraging up and down rough grass stalks looking for seeds. This constant abrasion keeps their nails short, but in captivity gold-breasted waxbills need regular nail trimming. Gold-breasted waxbills are equally at home in cages or aviaries and are sometimes very good breeders if given the chance. Juvenile gold-breasted waxbills look like females, except that young males have a red eye stripe at the fledgling stage, which makes sexing easy. Gold-breasted waxbills males get more colorful with each successive molt, and mature birds are very striking with no two looking exactly alike.

Expert Advice

“In Europe, gold-breasted waxbills are referred to as zebra waxbills because of their striped flanks. Gold-breasted waxbillss have a long reproductive life which can exceed 10 years. Gold-breasted waxbills can potentially interbreed with fire finches and these species should not be housed together for this reason.”

— Karl Lieberman

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Native Region:
3 inches
Life Expectancy:
8 to 15 years in captivity
Noise Level:
Quiet chirps and trills
Talk / Trick Ability: