Painted Firetail (Emblema pictum)

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Painted Firetail
Emblema pictum
Painted Firetail (Emblema pictum)
Name Painted Firetail
Name Lat. Emblema pictum
Family Estrildid Finches
Family lat. Estrildidae
Order Perching Birds
Order lat. Passeriformes
Origin Australia
Climate Subtropical - tropical
Diet Estrilded Finches seed, veggies, insects
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Moderate
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

Painted amadines are native to central Australia. There they live in the dry areas, steppes and semi-deserts, where they stay near waterholes. They are only available as offspring since the export ban in 1960.

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 different thickness and height must be installed in such a way that they can only be reached by flying and the longest possible flight distance is created. It is recommended to equip them with grasses and twigs. They need a bathing opportunity as well as biotope-like hiding, sleeping and nesting possibilities. 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 (chickweed, green panicle millet, fresh grass panicles, etc.), insect feed and especially for the rearing of young swollen or germinated seeds (millet, oats, egg feed and insect larvae such as small skinned crosses).), insect food and, especially for raising young, swollen or germinated seeds (millet, oats), 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. If there are several birds, several feeding stations should also be set up. Drinking water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers. Feed 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 have a strong red facial mask and are colored red from the chest to the middle of the abdomen; in females the red facial mask is much less extensive and the red spot on the chest and middle of the abdomen is not visible at all or only slightly visible.

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). The nesting material consists of coconut fibers, sisal, longer grasses as well as animal hair and feathers for padding. They like to use pieces of bark, small roots, and pine needles as nest support. The clutch consists of 4-6 eggs, the incubation period is about 14 days. The breeding season is, biologically speaking, all year round. When breeding, the room temperature should be at least 18 °C.

The average life expectancy is 5-10 years.


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: Franz Lowak

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