The Blue--breasted Parrot Finch


The Blue-breasted Parrot Finch, also known as the Forbes, Timor, or Tenimber Parrot Finch, is the smallest species of parrot finch and, in our esti-mation, the most beautiful. We think it is even more handsome than the smaller than the Mindanao, or Mount Katanglad, Parrot Finch (Erythrura co/aria). It is our concern that unscrupulous dealers and importers will be dumping these birds on a naive American market. This has happened before with the Mindanao Parrot Finch and may also be happening with the Peale's Parrot Finch which, although we have not observed personally, reportedly are smaller and paler than they should be. The pure-blood Peale's is quite a large bird, causing us to believe that it is being out-crossed to its smaller relative, the Red-headed Parrot Finch (Erythrura psittacea), producing a smaller, washed-out looking bird. Likewise, the Bluebreasted, we believe, is being outcrossed to the Blue-faced Parrot Finch, producing a larger bird, but one still recognizable as a Blue-breasted.

The Blue-breasted Parrot Finch is extremely hardy and, in fact, may be almost as tough as the Peale's Parrot Finch, the sturdiest of the parrot finches with which we have worked so far. In the wild, these birds occur on the Indonesian islands of Timar and Tenimber and are trapped in small groups along the borders of bushes. It appears, due to the rapid destruction of their habitat, that it won't be long until the collection of this species reaches a critical point. It is for this reason that serious attempts should be made to breed this bird and allow no individuals to fall into the hands of "unproductive" collectors.

The keeping and breeding of this bird will be a departure from the more familiar parrot finch species. This bird should not be fed mainly seed, as with the others, but should be supplemented heavily with fresh fruits and vegetables, namely apples, oranges, cucumbers, and romaine lettuce. Although a small bird, it is not a sluggish one like the more familiar Red-headed and Blue-faced Parrot Finches. The Blue-breasted are fast, acrobatic fliers, reminiscent of the Pintailed Parrot Finch, and for this reason should not be kept in small cages, but in as large an area as the keeper can permit. Also, if forced to eat primarily a seed diet, these birds will get fat, especially the cocks. Obesity in cocks appears to be the number one cause of infertility in this species. This point we cannot stress strongly enough.