GARDEN BIRDS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Malurus_cyaneus_PM.jpg)PARK BIRDS Photo © Janet MacphersonWATERFOWLGAME BIRDSPARROTS - Photo © Colin MorganGRASS FINCHES Photo by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com)  (Courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stagonopleura_guttata_3.jpg)EXOTIC FINCHES (Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cucullatamachocolombia.jpg)SOFTBILLS Photo © Janet MacphersonSPECIALISED BIRDS Photo by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eudyptula_minor_Bruny_1.jpg)
Taronga Conservation Society Australia Featherdale Wildlife ParkAustralian Wildlife Conservancy
Save the Cassowary
Save the Cassowary

 

Australian Native Plants
For use in Finch Aviaries

(The Avicultural Review August 1986 Vol. 8 No. 8)
(Printable Version - PDF file - Free Adobe Reader download)

The reason for restricting this article to native plants is simply that Australian finches show a marked preference for them, as evidenced by large numbers of red-browed and double-barred finches resident in the Canberra Botanic Gardens.  These species rarely turn up in the suburbs where most of the plantings tend to be of exotics.  As a planted aviary is, of necessity, outside and Australian birds make up a great majority of the finches that can be kept outside in Canberra, it would seem pointless to consider the exotic species of plants.

The plants suggested have been selected primarily for the protection afforded the birds due to the dense foliage.  Finches are by nature wary of wide open spaces and will appreciate being provided with the conditions that they have evolved to survive and breed in.

Some of the plants are included because of their ability, when flowering, to produce an abundance of nectar which will entice insects in the cage - saving you much trouble when breeding time comes around.  Although finches are seed eaters, at this time of the year, insects are a vital ingredient in the parent birds' diet in raising the young.  It is suggested that species of plants are selected such that flowering coincides with the breeding season of your birds.

Finally the list has been limited to plants reaching a height no greater than two metres and those species which have proved hardy in Canberra conditions. All can be seen growing in the Canberra Botanic Gardens and are easily obtained through local nurseries dealing in native plants.

The addition of coarse river sand to the soil will ensure good drainage for your plants and with regular watering; one hundred percent success could be reasonably expected with the species listed.  All respond favourably to regular pruning and this practice is recommended to keep the plants from becoming "leggy".

Planting for Quail

Is is the opinion of many fanciers that quail, with their spontaneous and erratic flights, prove to be nothing more than a nuisance and a danger to their finches.  However, with the provision of tussocks of native grasses, the quail live peacefully alongside the other species, emerging only to feed, and scurrying back into the safety of their grass when startled.  Another dimension is introduced to the aviary when the quail form their network of tunnels and begin nesting amongst the tussocks.

PLANT

FLOWERING

HEIGHT X WIDTH
(in metres)

Banksia ericifolia (N)

Large orange / red brushes
Autumn / winter

2 x 2
(w/pruning)

Banksia robur (N)

Bronze / green brushes.
Winter / spring

2 x 2

Banksia spinulosa (N)

Large yellow brushes.
Winter

2 x 2

Callistermon "Captain Cook" (N)

Red bottle brushes.
Autumn / spring

1.5 x 2

Callistermon sieberli (N)

Spring / summer

2 x 2

Callistermon subulatus (N)

Deep red bottle brushes.
Spring / summer

1.5 x 1.5

Correa reflexa (N)

Red bells, tipped yellow.
Winter

1 x 1

Grevillea baueri (N)

Deep pink spider flowers.
Spring

1.5 x 1.5

Grevillea dimorpha (N)

Scarlet spider flowers.
Spring

1.5 x 1.5

Grevillea rosmarinifolia (N)

Red, pink spider flowers.
Autumn / spring

1.5 x 2

Hakea sericea (N)

Pink, white spider type flower.
Late winter / spring

2 x 2

Indigophera australis

Pink pea flowers.
Spring

1.5 x 1.5

Leptospermum rotundifolium

Large pale pink flowers.
Spring / summer

(All leptospermums / ti-trees are favourite nesting sites for finches.)

2 x 2

Leptospermum jumperina

White flowers.
Spring / summer

1 x 1.5

Leptospermum squarosum

Large pink flowers.
Autumn

1.5 x 2

Melaleuca alenca fulgens (N)

Scarlett bottle brushes, gold tipped.
Spring

2 x 2

Melaleuca pulchella

Mauve claw flowers.
Summer / autumn

1 x 1

Melaleuca thymifolia

Mauve claw flowers.
Summer / autumn

1 x 1

Melaleuca violacea

Violet flowers.
Summer

0.5 x 0.5

Melaleuca wilsonii

Pink / mauve tufts and long stem.
Spring

1 x 2

(N) = produces large amounts of nectar

(Reprinted with the kind permission of the Canberra Avicultural Society.)

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