White--bellied Crimson Finch (New Guinea Blood Finch)


Lere are two types of Crimson Finches (also called Blood Finch), the Black-bellied (Australian) and the White-bellied (New Guinea and Cape York). The Black-bellied comes from Australia and while it is being bred at the present time in Europe, we know of only five Black-bellied Crimson Finch in the United States at this time. The White-bellied comes from the Cape York Peninsula of Australia, and from southern New Guinea. The major difference between the two types is in the male birds and, as evi- denced by their respective names, the abdomen of one is black and on the other a cream color (not white). The males of both types are alike except for the abdomen. A written description does not do these birds justice, being a burgundy red on the back with bright red tail, secondary flight feathers being the same color as the back. It is a very attractive and very active finch.

The first breeding that we are aware of in the U.S. was by john Vanderhoof in 1981. The birds that were bred at that time were dispersed and nothing more was seen of them. In 1992, a shipment of 200 birds came into a quarantine station in Los Angeles. This group of White-bellied Crimson Finch came from New Guinea. We obtained four pairs from this group of wildcaught birds. One pair promptly went to nest in an outdoor flight which contained several different species of finches and Australian Grass Parakeets, however this hen died of eggbinding at that time. It should be noted here that it appears that Crim- sons are prone to egg binding in cooler or cold weather. Since they will go to nest at any time of year, as our experiences indicate they have no set breeding season, this needs to be carefully monitored if you are breeding outdoors. Another pair was set up in a small planted flight (6' high x 3' wide x 5' long) and the third pair was set up in a cage in a "bird room", as we were not sure they could acclimate to southern California winter temperatures when the nights can get down to the mid '40s where we are. We each had a pair at our respective homes, and kept in touch as to their progress. After several months, it was realized that the male of the pair in the outdoor flight was too aggressive for the hen and always kept her hiding in the bushes. Whenever she came out he would chase her and she wanted nothing to do with him. At about this same time an extra hen became available and we bought it and had it in the bird room. We decided to trade hens to see if a different hen would have any effect on his behavior.