Red-Headed Parrot Finch


The red-headed parrot finch is a beautiful and vivacious aviary bird from the remote island of New Caledonia. Red-headed parrot finches are interesting to watch because they are always exploring their environment. Because of their high activity level, they are happiest when housed in aviaries. If kept in cages, they should have at least 3 feet of horizontal flying space. These finches are ardent nest builders and sometimes good breeders but picking a pair is difficult. There are no visual differences between males and female,s but only the male sings the loud contact call. Parrot finches love to eat, and favorite foods include boiled egg, chopped greens, cooked brown rice and grated carrot.

Behavior / Health Concerns

Red-headed parrot finches are not usually aggressive but their constant activity can be disruptive to more sedentary birds, such as Gouldian finches, and they need plenty of space. They are notorious for stealing nesting material from other birds, which can be a problem. Red-headed parrot finches are noted for their rough courtship and mating behavior, where the male chases and forcibly mates the hen. This is normal for the species, and it’s not serious but many female parrot finches are a bit scruffy. Because of their love of food, red-headed parrot finches are prone to becoming overweight if their movement is limited in a small cage.

Red-headed parrot finches are quick to notice unlatched cage doors so be careful when servicing their cage. Red-headed parrot finches enjoy foraging activity, and a handful of hemp seeds scattered among aviary plants can keep them busy for hours. They can be excellent breeders and are almost always good parents. They like a standard finch-size nest box and plenty of nesting material. Their base diet is a finch seed mix with plenty of grated vegetables, chopped greens and hard-boiled egg.

Expert Advice

“The red-headed parrot finch occurs in several color mutations including orange faced, pied and lutino. The red-headed parrot finch is critically endangered in the wild due to the introduction of rats and cats to New Caledonia. Red-headed parrot finches consume up to five times the amount of water than any other finches. They also overheat easily and need plenty of shade in outdoor aviaries. They are fanatical bathers and need large open dishes for splashing around.

“Red-headed parrot finches are related to Gouldian finches. The babies of both species have phosphorescent markings on the roof of the mouth to assist feeding in the dark of the nest.

“Red-headed parrot finches have the unusual habit of being somewhat nocturnal. On moonlit nights they often stay up all night carrying on their busy activities while the other birds try to sleep.”

— Karl Lieberman

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Native Region:
New Caledonia
4 inches
Life Expectancy:
8 to 10 years
Noise Level:
Males can have a loud, musical trill
Talk / Trick Ability: