> The other day, in a pet shop in Hornsby, in Sydney's north, I was
> surprised to see some 10 Gouldian Finches, 2 Hooded Parrots and 2
> Princess Parrots. The owner said breeders who all had licences supplied
> them. In Peter Slater's new book he predicts that the Gouldian Finch
> will be the next bird extinct in OZ.
> Should I be alarmed with the appearance of these finches and parrots in
> the pet shop?
There is no cause for alarm about any of these birds having come from
the wild. All three species breed extremely easily in the aviary and no
take from the wild, either legal or illegal, occurs. A single pair of
aviary Gouldians in Queensland can be expected, if kept well, to raise
about 10 young a year, while Princesses and Hooded's also are free
breeders. Princesses would usually have 3 to 6 babies and Hooded
similar. Both may well have two clutches a year.
There are undoubtedly far more Gouldians in aviaries than in the wild.
In NSW alone, NPWS figures for 1995 show 49,706 in aviaries, and
probably double that number held by aviculturalists who don't have to
register their birds under NSW law. There could easily be around
250,000 Gouldians in aviaries - all aviary bred - in Australia. Their
price has come down to around $20 a pair in Queensland since they are
breeding so prolifically.
The NSW figures show 20,892 Princesses registered in aviculture in NSW
in 1995, and maybe around 100,000 Australia-wide in aviculture. Again
probably far, far, more than in the wild, and for most of us it is the
only way we will ever see them. Their price is also quite low, at
around $100 a pair. Hooded's are less common, with 6278 registered by
NPWS in NSW in 1995. Perhaps around 20,000 in aviculture Australia
wide, a number which again might be competitive with the wild
population. Hooded's are also considered an easy bird to breed, in fact
in Queensland they have become so common that breeders cannot sell all
their birds and many have stopped them from breeding until the demand
Unfortunately there are some species of parrots which are still legally
trapped for the aviculture and pet trade. These are species which are
also culled in large numbers as crop pest birds - Long-billed and Little
Corellas, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Red-caps and
Twenty-eights. I believe no finches are legally trapped in Australia
anymore - Western Australia was the last state to allow this and I
believe they stopped issuing permits about 10 years ago.