Saffron Finch

Saffron Finch


Northern Colombia and Venezuela; Ecuador and Peru and north-east Brazil to central Argentina.


Grasslands and brushy areas; lowlands outside Amazon basin.


The male is bright yellow with an orange crown which distinguishes it from other yellow finches in the continent. The females are more confusing as they can sometimes be just a duller version of the male but are often olive-brown with heavy dark streaks.

Saffron Finch

They are cavity nesters; they stuff a messy mass of straw and feathers into a hole in a tree, under eaves of buildings or in rock crevices.


Nesting can be anywhere between September to April. The courtship usually commences with the male chasing the female around until she gives up trying to escape his advances, when she finally settles down he will sit down beside her and start dancing and flapping his wings while singing. They will build their own nest in shrubbery but also take readily to nest boxes. Five to seven eggs are generally laid. They have white eggs covered in brownish red spots. Incubation is done by the female alone with the male guarding nearby. After thirteen days the chicks hatch and grow quickly, fledging at around three weeks.

Interesting Facts:

Wild saffron finches prefer to live in flocks during the winter while in spring they live in pairs for breeding. Unlike many other finches, they are not migratory.

Saffron Finch
Saffron Finch
Class: birds
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Sicalis
Species: flaveola
Height: 5.5 to 6 inches
Weight: 0.7 oz
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Wild Diet: Wild seeds, grass seeds, and live food
Predators: Raptors, snakes, some carnivorous animals.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building

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