Thursday, December 29, 2011

One More Loss


I just lost the last chick.

Not sure what happened there........well back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Show Quality Bengalese

Here in Sydney we have some very good exhibition quality Bengalese and in particular a breeder here Les who is a member of the NSW Finch Exhibitors Society that I am a member of has excellent stock. Below is an image of a pied Bengalese that I picked up in a pair off Les a few months ago and I have to say that although they are not Selfs, after keeping them for a while I have a great appreciation for the shape an form of these Show Bengos. They are a much larger finch than my selfs, but above all the shape or what is called "Type" amongst the Exhibitors and Judges is particularly impressive. You can see that the head here is quite large and the body has a fairly solid look but the shape of the bird actually has very nice lines. The wings on this Hen always come together on her back into a single point for each wing and also the two wing tips always rest tip to tip. I have not owned a Bengalese Finch that displays such nice form before.

You can see in the image to the right here the considerable size differences between my nice Chocolate Self and this Show Pied. I would say that the size of this Bengo would be similar to that of a Diamond Sparrow. When you pick one of these guys up, you really know you have a bird in your hand, a lot of bulk and muscle, defiantly not a delicate little Waxbill.
I would like to show bengalese in the future but I believe that I will have to develop size and type into my Selfs if I am going to compete here in Sydney. Unfortunately the selfs just have not had the following as I have already commented about here on the blog.
It all takes time.


Chocolate Clearwing

 I have altered an image to try and show what a Chocolate Clearwing might look like if there was one.

Looks pretty cool.

Two Lost

Unfortunately today my nesting pair of Bengos threw out two of the three young, I'm  not sure why but from talking to some friends, it is not necessarily uncommon. This could be these birds first attempt at breeding I'm not sure but it can take finches a few go's to get it right sometimes.

Well hopefully the one left will be OK.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clearwing 2

As mentioned before, there are still remnants of the Clearwing mutation (or Pastel as it has been called) in Australia. They are a recessive trait and traditionally they occur in Ginger and Dilute Ginger Bengalese Finches.

As seen above the Mutation can vary into other colours

Especially here we see a fairly dark Red/Brown (Ginger) and personally think it has quite a striking appearance with the heavier contrast

I am curious as to whether the Clearwing Mutation can occur in the darker birds like the Chestnut and Chocolate. I will be keeping an eye out for any images to share.

Not a Stubborn Hen Anymore

Well my pair of Light Chestnut  and Chocolate Bengalese Finches now have three one day old chicks.

Sooo Tiny  :-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Grey Self Bengalese 2

The Grey Self Bengalese is named according to the parent bird that is underlying in the colour such as Chocolate, Chestnut and Ginger. The Grey mutation for these colours simply does not have the Red/Brown element present in the feathers.

 Chocolate Grey (Black Grey) Self

Chestnut Grey Self

Ginger Grey (Red/Brown Grey) Self

Heres a few more pics of some Grey Self Bengos from overseas

Dilute Ginger Grey Self

Chocolate Grey (Black Grey) Self

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Clearwing 1

One of the Bengalese Self Mutations that has been present in Australia in recent years is what was called the "Pastel" in Queensland and overseas is called the "Clearwing".

Here is an excerpt from the proposed Qld BBS standard regarding this colour...

Pastel (Dilute Fawn)
Head, neck upper breast and tail dilute red brown. Cheeks, mantle and wing coverts cream. Wing flights off-white. The lower breast and underparts white without flecks
Beak - upper and lower mandible horn
Legs - horn coloured

Unfortunately due to the decline in breeders of the Self Bengalese in recent years, this colour has also suffered in numbers. Through my friend Tim, I am only aware of one breeder in Queensland that keeps some and they are actually slightly pied also, but at least there is hope to re-establish the Clearwing colour in the future.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chestnut Young

Here is a picture of two of the young chestnuts on the right and their mother on the left. They are going well in the holding cage and I think they are beginning to moult.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Proven Wrong

Well, funnily enough, despite my groaning about my "Stubborn Hen", two days ago I discovered an egg in the nest!! So there you go, not so "Stubborn" after all! Yay! I'm looking forward to seeing how many she lays.

Also yesterday I moved the 3 young Chestnuts and their Father into the holding cage and and have moved my Light Chestnut Cockbird in with the Chestnut Hen.

See how they go together.....

Cheers All

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The weather has been gloomy, dark and wet for a week..... so the hopes of my stubborn hen getting excited have now been squashed...


Friday, December 2, 2011


I have been a member of the Aussie Finch Forum for the last few months and I find it to be an extremely helpful online community of Finch enthusiasts (Finchos). The Forum is well established and quite large with an excellent variety of topics (its easy to get lost, there is so much good stuff) with plenty of people that hare happy to support and answer questions. There are regular members of the forum with large number of posts one of the Moderators I have noticed has 8000+ posts to their name!!!!. There is even a For Sale and Wanted sign up and have fun!

I was browsing through last night and looking through some of the reviews for Bird Sales that happen across the country and I stumbled upon a picture of a pair of birds that were being sold at the Cessnock Bird sale this year in May. They were Labled as White Bellied Munias and were priced at $30 for the pair (seen below).

In my opinion these look like Chocolate Self Bengalese. From my experience so far I have never heard of the White Bellied Munia being kept in Australian Aviculture. And have never seen any Australian pictures that look like the White Bellied Munia (Right). You can see how much lower the brown breast line comes down when compared to the scolloped breast of the Bengalese. Do not get the name of this finch confused with the White Rumped Munia that is Lonchura striata (Bengalese), the White Bellied Munia is called Lonchura leucogastra.

There is also a chance that the finches from this bird sale were Javan Munias,  however the Javan Munia (Lonchura leucogastroides) is fairly rare finch in Australia and can be priced up to $150pr. You can see that a pure, wild Javan Munia (left) has a significantly defined line separating the  dark brown/black breast and a white/cream underbody.
The Lonchura in the top photo show quite a dirty looking underbody (the picture quality makes it hard to see any Bengalese markings) and a blended line between the brown breast and the underbody which generally affirm the opinion that these are Bengos. Also the Javan Munia is a fairly petite and small finch and the Finches in the top picture look fairly well sized.

The names for some of the Lonchura family in Australia can be used quite loosely sometimes and I have seen Bengalese sold as "Mannikin Finches" and Mutated Javan Munias sold as "Munia Finches"

It all makes for good discussion but I think that there is a high chance that the owner of these Finches in the top picture had knowledge of the Bengalese origins being from the White Rumped Munia and wanted to give these nice looking little guys a little more value by labeling them with their natural undomesticated wild name. It's just that they had gotten the name a little bit wrong...... not that hard to do I think, White Bellied, White Rumped.........tomaeto, tomarto.

In any case if they are Bengos then it good to see some Selfs floating around out there!!

Cheers All!

My Stubborn Hen

I have tried my light Chestnut pair together for a while, trying to be patient and there just was no real activity noticeable, they would roost in their light nest but made no attempt to build anything decent.
I have had to try and accept that this light chestnut Hen is either too old or possibly a Cock. I found it hard to accept that it is a Cock because after my many hours of watching my finches I have never seen this little guy Sing so I would like to hold the opinion that it is a Hen. I had given up though and was considering moving her on in the future because she seems a bit rough and feather plucks some of the others while in the holding cage.

I had put the two light chestnuts down in the holding cage for a while and recently I have noticed that this Hen, my stubborn Hen was very active and was clinging to the top wire of the holding cage all the time. I had to assume that it wanted to get back into the breeding cage and to the nest there. I have been trying to breed with this Hen for the last two months since getting her and had no success. I considered that we are now well at the end of Spring and getting into Summer and the weather is definitely fining up and getting lighter and warmer I have noticed a lot more seeding grasses around lately and had started feeding the seed to my young Chestnuts. I have tried a slightly new approach to this Hen and given it another shot in the ring!

I have paired it up with my best Chocolate Cockbird (right), introduced some very good nesting material and every day, twice a day if possible, put a good bunch of some local seeding grasses (above) in the cage with the pair so I can try and encourage the natural atmosphere of a Spring breeding season. I guess that the key here is that the natural weather conditions have become better now and possibly this stubborn Hen of mine just might be moving into breeding condition.

I have been doing this for a week and to my delight this pair of Self Bengos is making an excellent nest. We are not there yet but it is looking more positive now.....

3 Fledged Chestnuts

Well my young Chestnuts have fledged and are looking very nice and healthy. There is definitely a difference in colour between the two darker and one lighter chicks.... I wonder how they will colour up?

One thing is for sure they look like all self and no white (pied) markings....good stuff!

Once they are feeding themselves I will move the Cock and the young down into the holding cage and pair the Hen with a different Cock, probably one of my Chocolates. See if we can do it all over again!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Misguided Belief to Dispel.3

The White Rumped Munia
(Lonchura striata
By Mark Shipway

As I indicated before, the hybrid myth has been perpetuated up until now probably because the White Rumped Munia remains a relatively unknown species in aviculture. I have observed two of the nine races of the White Rumped Munia in the wild and one in captivity. In the wild in Sumatra (race sumatrensis), their nests are abundant in the hill park next to the centre of Bukitinggi town, Central Sumatra. I was there in June 2000 when a large earthquake hit late at night after which, having been shaken off their perch, several Munias were flying around the town, disorientated, colliding with house windows and balconies. (Samui Island and near Chiang Mai, both in Thailand (race subsquamicollis
for avid birdwatchers, try looking in the road side vegetation back from the main tourist beach on Samui) and Vietnam (probably race subsquamicollis or swinhoei), you can see them at close quaters, packed in unsanitary conditions in the Hanoi bird markets together with Australian grassfinches imported from China.

Restall (1996) suggests that the western races (india, Nepal, Myanma) have more sharply contrasted colouring and those to the South (Malay Peninsula and Sumatra) are more spotted and marked whilst those from the East (Taiwan, China and Indo-China) are paler and more fawn and tawny. Restall (1996) reports that they are threatened in Singapore and Hong Kong.

I have also bred hundreds of Bengalese and see none of their characteristics, which cannot be said to come directly from the White Rumped Munia and its races directly or be explained by selective breeding.

  Photo Courtesy of Jim Warburton
(Author of the Just Bengalese Website)

I have found that sexing the White Rumped Munia, like the Bengalese, is a simple matter, in that apart from the males song, his distance call is generally higher pitched  and a variable in tone ("d-d-dri") whilst the female's call is a simple low monotone("d-d-droot"). Scientific research has now confirmed these differences (Okanoya K, Kimura T, Journal of Comparative Psychology 107:4) 386 - 394 DEC 1996). This is particularly helpful when viewing the birds at a distance. At closer quarters, the width of the lower mandible may, additionally, be used, but is best used as a guide only.

To be continued....