African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
African Silverbill
Lonchura cantans
African Silverbill (Lonchura cantans)
Name African Silverbill
Name Lat. Lonchura cantans
Synonym Euodice cantans
Family Estrildid Finches
Family lat. Estrildidae
Order Perching Birds
Order lat. Passeriformes
Origin Africa
Climate Tropical
Diet Estrilded Finch seed, sprouts
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Finch nest
Life Span 5-10 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 80 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 3.9"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 30" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution range of the silver-bills extends from Senegal in West Africa to Somalia and Tanzania in East Africa. There they inhabit the dry bush steppes and sparse acacia forests where they live both at the waterholes of the semi-desert and at the edge of cultivated landscapes.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 80 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) for a pair. The cage size must not be undercut even in case of justified single keeping. For an additional 2-3 birds, assuming species compatibility, the floor space must be increased by 25%. The cage must be placed in a bright, draught-free and quiet place at a height of at least 80 cm (except aviaries), have a rectangular base and be opaque on three sides, aviaries on one side. Keeping in an aviary is preferable.


The floor must be covered with sand, wood granulate, bark mulch or similar material and must be cleaned regularly. At least 3 perches made of wood or branches of varying thickness and height must be installed in such a way that they can only be reached by flying and that the longest possible flight distance is created. They need a bathing opportunity as well as biotope-like hiding, sleeping and nesting possibilities. It is recommended to provide them with grasses, twigs and bushes. The room temperature must not fall below 15 °C.


The species-specific feed range consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "exotic feed" in premium quality, supplemented with foxtail millet, green panicle millet, germinated seeds (millet, wheat), green fodder (chickweed), fresh grass panicles, tangle grass seeds and, especially for rearing young, egg feed mixed with germ feed. Charcoal, vitamin lime and shell grit are needed as digestive aids. Drinking water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers and, like food, must be offered fresh daily in clean containers.

A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

Both sexes are equally colored, the head shape of the females is slightly more rounded. In contrast to the female, the males sing and they can be recognized by their bright and pleasant song.

They like to breed in biotope-like facilities such as basket nests (bionesters) and semi-open nest boxes of medium size, free in the branches (e.g. broom, bamboo, reeds). Suitable nesting materials include sisal, coconut fibers, long grasses, and animal hair and feathers for padding. The clutch consists of 3-6 eggs and the incubation period is about 11-13 days. The breeding season, biologically, is often in the winter months from October to May (rainy season). When breeding, the room temperature should be at least 18 ° C.


They must not be kept in a round cage. For flock keeping, an aviary is required. In the case of outdoor aviary keeping, they also require a heated shelter with a floor area of at least 1 m² and a height of 1.70 m, which can be visited by the birds at any time. The temperature in the shelter must not fall below 15 °C and the furnishings must correspond to those of cage keeping

They may only be kept in pairs or in a group or flock. Socialization with other finches is possible

In rooms, including shelters, sufficient daylight or flicker-free artificial light (stroboscopic effect) corresponding to daylight must be provided. The lighting duration shall be 8-14 hours per day and the natural day-night rhythm shall be observed. Adequate indoor climate shall be provided. The health condition of the birds shall be checked daily

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Othmar Sieberer; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1995): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Kleinvögeln; BIELFELD (1996): Das Prachtfinken-Buch, Verlag Eugen Ulmer; GRUMMT & STREHLOW (2009): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Vögel, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 25 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF