Zebra Finch Care Guide – Diet, Lifespan & More

zebra finch on stick

The Zebra Finch is an adorable little bird that is a perfect choice for beginners.

If you have never owned one of these animals before, this one has much to offer.


These birds measure anywhere from 3.9 to 4.3 inches when they are fully grown, with a weight of up to 0.42 ounces. They have distinctive black stripes across their upper breasts, along with black and white tails. 

The chestnut-colored cheeks and reddish-orange beak make this bird quite colorful. Females are mostly grey and do not feature any chest barring whatsoever. Males tend to have a brighter red beak than females.

Zebra Finch Lifespan

The Zebra finch has a relatively short lifespan of around 5 to 7 years, but they can live up to 10 years. This makes it a good choice for those who don’t want to make an extremely long term commitment with a bird.

zebra finch white background

The Zebra Finch’s Personality

It is important to keep in mind that Zebra Finches do not typically like being handled or petted. You will likely have to spend some time establishing trust with the bird before this is even possible.

These birds do not require a ton of social interaction, so they are pretty low maintenance. You will, however, want to make a point of talking to it when you are near their cage sometimes. This should provide the bird with all of the social stimulation it needs. You might also want to keep some music playing by their cage when you aren’t around.

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You shouldn’t expect your Zebra Finch to mimic anything you say, and they aren’t all that trainable. Males are capable of singing, but not their female counterparts. 

One of the most interesting things about these birds is that they have elaborate songs. They are fairly vocal but don’t make a ton of noise on a regular basis. This is a fairly good bird to own if you live in an apartment.

This is a type of bird that is best appreciated from a distance. You most likely won’t be able to play or interact with it in the same way that you would other birds. It is crucial that you never try to force your bird to interact directly with you.

Natural Habitat

The Zebra Finch can be found throughout Central Australia as well as in Indonesia. They tend to live in dry regions, traveling in large flocks that can consist of 100 birds. These birds tend to spend most of their time in wooded grasslands.

several zebra finches

Zebra Finch Care Guide

1. Zebra Finch Diet

You will want to feed your Zebra Finch a diet of mostly seed mix that is formulated for small birds. These birds really love chickweed, dandelion, and other greens. You need to make sure that your bird always has access to food throughout the day.

Giving your bird cuttlefish bones is a good way to prevent a calcium deficiency, which can become a real problem. You can also give them just about any fruit or vegetable with the exception of onions, avocado, lettuce, and citrus fruits. These foods can have a toxic effect which could be fatal for your bird.

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2. Environment

When you are buying a cage for a Zebra Finch, you should make sure that it measures no less than 20 by 24 by 24 inches. These birds don’t need a ton of space, but more is always better. It should be long and horizontal so that your bird has plenty of space to fly.

While some birds need to have toys in their cage for mental and physical stimulation, these birds do not. If you do put any toys in their cage, you’ll have to make sure that they don’t have any strings or anything else that your might swallow.

You need to be careful about keeping one of these birds with another of a different species. There is always the chance that they won’t get along with their new feathery companion. It is a typically a matter of trial and error, which can become quite frustrating. Keep in mind that these birds do well on their own.

3. Common Health Problems

These birds can develop problems with scales on their face, which are due to mites. These scales typically form around the eyes and beak as well as legs. If you notice this happening, it is important to get your bird to the vet right away.

4. Grooming

Because Zebra Finches can have issues with overgrown beaks and nails, you will need to make sure that they stay trimmed. You can go to either an experienced veterinarian or bird groomer to have this done.

You’ll also want to keep a small shallow bowl of water in your bird’s cage. This will allow it to bathe and keep its feathers clean. You can also gently mist your bird with a spray bottle filled with water. Either way, their feathers need to be maintained.

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Zebra Finch Price

You can buy a Zebra Finch for around $20, though there are some mutations that can cost as much as $75. These are some of the most affordable birds that are commonly kept as pets.


  • Zebra finches can live up to 10 years and have an average lifespan of 5 to 7 years.
  • These birds have a very standoffish personality and are best admired from a distance.
  • You should get a large horizontal cage for your bird so that it has plenty of room to fly and flap its wings.
  • Toys are not particularly necessary for these birds, but you should spend at least some time around them on a daily basis.
  • You need to do your research and think carefully before putting in a bird of a difference species with your Zebra Finch.
  • These finches can develop problems with mites, which require immediate attention. Regular vet checkups can help to prevent this.
  • Make sure that your bird’s beak and nails are kept trimmed by visiting a bird groomer or going to the vet.
  • Your bird will need access to water in its cage for bathing purposes.