The saffron finch is a large and impressive finch and is really a cousin of the tanagers. Saffrons are handsome birds, but they can also be aggressive. Saffron finches should be kept only with other tough aviary species, like java finches and weaver finches.
Saffron finches are a much-loved garden bird throughout their native range, and they are also a common pet bird. The saffron finch’s song is cheerful but simple and is a nice addition to any bird aviary. Saffrons are happiest in aviaries because they are hyper active by nature. Sexing saffron finches is difficult for the untrained eye but females usually have darker and more pronounced black streaking on the back, and are slightly smaller than males. Saffron finches are cavity nesters and use a standard budgie nest box for breeding if provided one. They like coconut fiber and shredded palm fronds to stuff inside the box. They are usually good breeders, but will not tolerate nest inspections.
Saffron finches can be quite aggressive toward other birds and with their own kind if kept in groups. Otherwise, they are easy to please on a diet of budgie mix, chopped egg and greens. Saffron finches are one of the few finches that will sometimes eat fruit. Saffron finches are extraordinarily strong and hearty with no notable major health concerns.
“Male saffron finches are sometimes used in fighting competitions in South America. Birds are paired off in small cages to square off in the style of cock fighting, but the finches are not usually injured.
“Saffron finches occur in two rare color mutations: white and pied.
“Saffron finches are considered to be an intermediary species between finches and tanagers, showing traits of both.
In South America, saffron finches are sometimes called “canario de terra” or “earth canary.”
— Karl Lieberman