The Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) is a small passerine bird.
The male Zebra Finch has black and white bars on its throat and chest, bright orange cheeks, and a red beak. Its body is brown. The female is mainly grey-brown, with an orange beak and more black and white patterned feathers.
It measures about 10 centimetres (4 inches) tall.
The Zebra Finch is native to central Australia. It prefers dry regions and is not found in hot tropical regions.
It eats grass seeds. Sometimes, it eats insects, such as ants and termites. It forages in flocks of 200-300 individuals. It drinks water regularly during the day. Unlike other birds that lift their heads to swallow water, the Zebra Finch swallows water while its beak is in the water. This enables it to drink quickly.
It forms a monogamous pair and mates for life. It makes a nest in a thorny shrub or tree. The female lays 2-8 eggs, which hatch after 14-16 days. The chicks gain their flight feathers after 17-18 days. After 35 days, the chicks can feed themselves.
The average life expectancy of the Zebra Finch is about 5 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM