[UNCLASSIFIED] Dustbathing by finches

Subject: [UNCLASSIFIED] Dustbathing by finches
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:22:53 +1000
In captivity
I have seen red billed firefinches dust bathe- they are African
For Australian
Zebra finches
1 redbrow hen
No more than about 5 events have I seen it, over 25 years of keeping birds. For 10 years I had around about 200 birds. One day about 5 zebra finches all dust bathed, it happened the next day, but then never again. A bit strange.
One painted finch I saw dust bathe twice, only did it for a few seconds each time, just the neck, upper breast. The redbrow hen dust bathed her chest and may have had an irritation.
I expect that Pictorellas may dust bathe, but I havent kept them. They are the most 'terrestrial' of Australian finches.
I have seen immature finches being covered in dirt showers when quails dust bathe. They dont seem to try to get out of the way. 1 zebra finch and 1 java finch did actively run under a dust shower but I suspect they actually wanted to be brooded by the quail rather than covered in dirt.
I imagine it would occur sometimes, very rarely, in the wild where preferred dust is found.
Finches are known to use charcoal in their nests and if you provide it powdered they may 'bath' in it. I have not seen this but have heard about it. Masks and Painteds use charcoal a lot in their nests. It can be funny because they can turn black in patches.
I suspect finches may also 'ant' on very rare occasions. I think I have seen it twice but couldnt guarantee that is what they were doing, and I discourage ants entering aviaries cause they kill chicks.
Finches will bathe every day in water, even during winter, if the right conditions are provided. I have seen them often bathe in water in the wild, they probably dont need to dust bathe. To improve feather maintenance and condition when showing birds a key thing is to spray them with water to encourage preening. It may have something to do with the oil gland.
Benj Whitworth

From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Thursday, 25 August 2005 5:31 PM
To: Birding-aus (E-mail);
Subject: [canberrabirds] Dustbathing by finches

Hello All,
This enquiry was sent to AfricanBirding and I am passing it on. Does anyone know about whether any of the Australian native finches indulge in dust bathing. They certainly like water bathing and the sparrow does dust bathing. So the enquiry relates to family Passeridae (as in Christidis & Boles), with the exception of genus Passer.
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