|Common Name||Masked Grass Finch|
|Latin Name||Poephila personata|
|Average Lifespan||7 - 10 Years|
|Average Length||5 Inches|
|Average Weight||13 Grams|
Noise Level & Vocalization
To the untrained eye it can be extremely difficult trying to sex the Masked Finch. It can be difficult at times for the trained eye as well! Perhaps the best method is to look at the size of the birds as the hen tends to be slightly smaller than the male. My favourite way of sexing these birds is to check the size of the black mask on the face. If you hold the birds the males’ mask extends back from the beak to a greater extent than the females – when viewed from above this is more obvious. Also the male has a richer brown colouration to the top of his head which tends to be more pronounced when the birds are in breeding condition.
Unlike their cousins the Longtail and the Parson they are docile in a mixed collection. They do best as a small colony of 3 or more pairs but will breed when kept as a single pair. They show no inclination to interfere with the nests of smaller waxbill species – unlike their cousins! They may be a little timid when combined with the more ‘boisterous’ Australian such as Diamond Sparrows, Redbrows and Blue-face Parrotfinches but are fine with the majority of waxbills and other smaller finches.
A standard finch mix will be fine with Masked Grassfinches. They eagerly take egg food (Roy's egg food), greens and soaked millet or sprouting paddy rice. Grit and calcium in the form of crushed egg and oyster shells and cuttlebone should always be available to them.
Masked finches can be housed successfully as single pairs, a colony, or as part of a mixed collection. They prefer a large planted aviary, but are generally tolerant of smaller aviaries or even a large flight cage. Some breeders find they perform better when housed in small groups of 2-3 pairs.
Masked finches will interbreed with other birds in the Poephila genus (Black-throated finches and Long-tailed finches) and produce worthless hybrids. These species must be housed separately.
They have a strong preference for large planted aviaries and enjoy hiding in long grasses.
Masked finches are generally very placid in a mixed aviary situation. They can be successfully housed with most placid finches, quail, doves, and (space permitting) Neophema parrots.
|Age of Maturity||9 Months|
|Breeding Aviculture||Somewhat Common|
|Average Clutch Size||4 - 6 Eggs|
These birds are ill-suited to breeding cages and will do much better in larger well-planted aviaries. Regardless of the housing situation, whether cabinet or aviary, it must be free of draughts as this bird is prone to pneumonia in cooler climates.
Pairs build a domed nest from grasses, lined with fine grass, feathers, and charcoal, in the late wet or early dry season. The nest position varies: it can be as high as 20 metres or simply hidden in long grass. Five to six white eggs are laid.
Stable - Least Concern