Saffron Finch

ANIMAL:
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola

Type of Animal:
Songbird

Habitat:
Lowlands, grassland, dry open agricultural land, towns, semiopen/open lowland river valleys, brush/brushy areas, gardens, parks, semiopen/open dry forest, semiopen savanna w/ scattered trees/shrubs, semi-open thornscrub, semi-open chaco woodland, semiopen edges of marshes/waterbodies w/ scattered trees/shrubs, light woodland

Location(s):
Native to S America except for Amazon Basin/surrounding area, parts of Guiana Shield, E Peru, most of Chile (only found in C Chile), & much of S Argentina. Also found in Trinidad & Tobago. Introduced to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, S Florida, Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, & Cayman Islands.

Appearance:
Male bright yellow w/ saturated orange forehead, S populations duller/browner above, females duller than males w/ faded male characteristics & more streaking, juveniles similar to females

Food/Diet:
Seeds, grains, greens, insects, insect larvae/eggs

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos & aviculture

Lifestyle:
Flocks of 2-20 birds. Males become territorial in breeding season.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock

Weight:
Male: 0.77 oz
Female: 0.7 oz

Gestation:
2 weeks 

Life Span:
10-12 years

Height:
Male: 6 in
Female: 5.5 in

Body Length:
Male: 6 in
Female: 5.5 in

Tail Length:
0.5 in, same for both sexes

Main predators are predatory birds, snakes, crocodilians, predatory lizards, & carnivorous/omnivorous mammals.
 
Courtship starts w/ male chasing female around until she gives up escaping his advances. When she settles down, he’ll sit beside her & start dancing/wing flapping while singing.
 
Females lay 3-7 eggs & often rear up to 3 broods a season, meaning 9-21 chicks may be reared.
 
Chicks stay w/ parents for only a month. Male chicks may leave a few days before females.
 
They 1st molt at a year old. They reach sexual maturity at around 10 months.
 
Though sexually mature at 10-12 months, don’t often attain adult plumage until 2 years.
 
Often forage on ground.
 
Active during the day (diurnal).
 
Tend to do well near human areas, being very common.
 
Usually nest in cavities.

Fun Fact(s):
Males sometimes used for finch-fights (similar to cock-fights), in which beaks sharpened sometimes w/ sharp metal objects attached. Often enticed to fight due to females being nearby. Canary-fighting (these birds also called Brazilian or Native Canaries) was common in Brazil until outlawed in 1990.
 
Males often kept for pleasant, repetitious song of slurred whistles & chirps.
 
Has hybridized w/ other Sicalis species as well as Chestnut-Capped Blackbirds & different Canary species of genus Serinus.
 
While sometimes called Brazilian Canaries, they’re not closely related to canaries or finches & are in fact tanagers.

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