Long-tailed Finch Isabell (Poephila acuticauda hecki)

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Long-tailed Finch Isabell
Poephila acuticauda hecki
Long-tailed Finch Isabell (Poephila acuticauda hecki)
Name Long-tailed Finch Isabell
Name Lat. Poephila acuticauda hecki
Family Estrildid Finches
Family lat. Estrildidae
Order Perching Birds
Order lat. Passeriformes
Origin Australia
Climate Tropical
Diet Exotic Birds seed, plant matter, insects
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Finch nest
Life Span 5-7 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 17 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 120 x 50 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 6.7"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 45" x 20" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The red-billed sharp-tailed grosbeaks are native to eastern northern Australia. They live in large flocks in open eucalypt forests, savannas and dry steppes, always near water. Since the export ban in 1960, they are only available as offspring in several color mutations.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 120 x 50 x 50 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 offer consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "exotic feed" in premium quality, supplemented with red foxtail millet, green feed (dandelion leaves, chickweed, green panicle millet, fresh grass panicles, cucumber slices, etc.), tangle grass seeds, insect feed and especially germinated seeds (millet, wheat).), tangle grass seeds, insect food and especially for raising young, germinated seeds (millet, wheat), egg food and insect larvae, such as small, skinned, cut-up mealybug larvae, ant pupae, pinkies and small buffalos. Charcoal, vitamine lime and shell grit are needed as digestive aids. Drinking water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers. Food and water must be offered fresh daily, and the containers must be cleaned beforehand.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

Males and females are similar in color and are difficult to distinguish. Females have a smaller black throat patch, a narrower black flank band and the bill color is slightly lighter.

They like to breed in biotope-like facilities such as basket nests (bionesters) and semi-open nest boxes of medium size, or freely in branches (e.g. broom, bamboo, reeds). Suitable nesting materials include coconut fiber, sisal, and longer grasses, as well as animal hair and feathers for padding. The clutch consists of 4-6 eggs, the incubation period is about 14 days. The breeding season is, biologically speaking, year-round. When breeding, the room temperature should be at least 18 °C.


They must not be kept in a round cage. An aviary is required for flock keeping

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 § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF