Shaft-Tailed Finch


Shaft-tailed finches are popular cage birds all over the world because they are hearty, handsome and easy to care for. They are bold birds and seem to enjoy interacting with their owners from inside their flight cages or aviary. Shaft-tailed finches can be domineering toward other birds in mixed aviaries and so careful observation is important. .

Behavior / Health Concerns

Shaft-tailed finches are usually good breeders, but picking out a true pair can be tricky; however, male shaft-tailed finches are usually a bit bigger with more pronounced chest bibs and redder beaks and legs. In mature shaft-tailed finches, the males central tail feathers will usually be longer. Shaft-tailed finches form strong pair bonds and couples are usually very devoted to each other.

Shaft-tailed finches prefer to sleep inside a nestbox or basket, and one should be provided for this reason. They are enthusiastic eaters and will usually take most any healthy food. Whole-grain bread, chopped broccoli grated hard-boiled eggs are popular items. A good-quality finch seed mix and a cuttlebone complete their basic diet needs. Shaft-tailed finches are equally at home in flight cages or aviaries but need some lateral space for flying. Natural, nontoxic, disinfected branch perches are perfect for keeping their feet flexible and healthy.

Shaft-tailed finches seem to take pride in their appearance and always seem to look neat and clean. This is an inquisitive species that seems to enjoy small parakeet/canary toys.

Expert Advice

“Shaft-tailed finches occur in a number of color mutations including white, fawn and Isabelle. There is also a yellow-beaked form, which is considered by many to be a separate subspecies. The shaft-tailed finch has two aristocratic relatives that are rare in the United States: masked grass finches and the Parson’s finch. The shaft-tailed finch’s Latin name is Poephila acuticauda, which translates as “grass-loving sharp-tail.”

— Karl Lieberman

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Native Region:
Northwest Australian
About 5 inches
Life Expectancy:
7-10 years
Noise Level:
Distinctive but pleasant calls, plaintive, metallic