While “strawberry finch” is the sparrow-sized bird’s affectionate nickname, says Avian Web’s Beauty of Birds, the species is known among ornithologists as a red avadavat—Latin name Amandava amandava—or red munia. It is the deep-red beak, red crown, strawberry-colored plumage, and white spots characteristic of the male bird during mating season that has earned the species its moniker. The female’s brown-gray plumage is less conspicuous by comparison.
The brightly colored birds’ native habitat extends from the Indus valley of Pakistan to the southern peninsula of India, while the introduced populations can also be found living in southern Spain, Brunei, Fiji, Egypt, Malaysia, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and Hawaii, states Beauty of Birds.
The strawberry finch is said to possess a “true song” owing to its recognizable melody of what sounds like tiny silver bells. Adding weight to their performative resumés, it is only the male finches that sing. Because of the iconic colorful plumage of the male during mating season, strawberry finches are popular among breeders who wish to raise and sell the birds as caged pets.
While wild strawberry finches feed mainly on grass seeds and insects, a captive bird’s diet usually comprises a small seed mix and a small amount of live food, such as mealworms, termites, and fruit fly larva. These beautiful birds also need a constant supply of freshwater, cuttlebone, and grit to maintain optimal health and a pristine plumage.
The strawberry finch enjoys lettuce, spinach, and carrot tops where these tasty snacks are available.
The male’s strawberry-colored plumage plays an important role in attracting females during mating season. According to The Finch Weekly, the finches’ usually small flocks separate off into pairs when it comes time to breed and competition for mates commences.
The male wins his mate by displaying a feather or a piece of grass and by singing and bowing to steal her affections. Each successful pairing then nests in an oval-shaped bamboo nest or a self-built nest made of coconut fibers, lined with feathers.
Pairs of strawberry finches usually produce between four and seven eggs, which incubate for two weeks. The hatched baby birds are considered fledglings after 21 days of being fed and protected by their parents.
In fact, the strawberry finch is thriving. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the bird is listed as of “least concern,” indicating that its population is healthy and stable.
Nature’s bounty never ceases to amaze, and the small but mighty strawberry finch is exemplary of how inspiring, and how beautiful, the natural world can be.