Finches >

The Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) are one of the most widespread and common Australian grass finches. They are found across three-quarters of mainland Australia, with two sub-species being recognised:

  • Taeniopygia guttata guttata — found in some coastal areas around Australia, Timor and the Lesser Sunda Islands.
  • Taeniopygia guttata castanotis — found across 75% of the mainland Australia.

It takes between 70 to 80 days from hatching to being sexually active, the Zebra Finch is one of the fastest recorded maturing bird species.

The Zebra Finches are mainly grey, having the characteristic black ‘tear drop’ eye stripes and ‘zebra like’ black and white barring across the rump and upper tail. They have pale grey throat and upper breast, with fine black barring, and a broad black band on the upper chest. The sides of the belly are chestnut in colour with white spots. The remainder of the belly and the undertail are white.

The male Zebra Finch has the orange chestnut cheek patches. Both sexes have red eyes and bill, with their legs and feet being orange-yellow.

The juvenile finches are similar in plumage to the female, with the exception that they do not have the black and white markings of the head. The eyes are grey-brown and the bill is black.

The Zebra Finch have some common calls, a loud nasal “tiah”, often given in flight, and a soft “tet tet” when in close contact. Zebra finches are also loud boisterous singers. Their calls can be a loud beep, meep, oi! or a-ha!. Their song is a few small beeps, that lead up to a rhythmic song of varying complexity in the males, with each male having different songs, although birds of the same bloodline will exhibit similarities.1

Common name
Zebra Finch, Chestnut-eared Finch.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Estrildidae
  • Genus: Taeniopygia
  • Species: T. guttata
  • Binomial name: Taeniopygia guttata

Footnote & References

  1. Brainard, Michael S.; Doupe, Allison J. (16 May 2002). “What songbirds teach us about learning”. Nature. 417 (6886): 351–358. doi:10.1038/417351a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 12015616.
  2. Zebra finch, (last visited May 18, 2021);
  3. Zebra Finch, Australian Museum,