Types of Zebra Finches

Updated February 21, 2017

According to Washington University, zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are Australian songbirds, which many bird enthusiasts keep as pets due to their attractive plumage. (See Reference 1) The typically small birds have distinctive black and white stripes adorning their faces, however their other body colours and body sizes will vary from type to type. If you are thinking of getting a zebra finch as a pet, there are several options to consider.

English Zebra Finches

Breeders throughout history have bred zebra finches to display certain characteristics. E Finch (See Reference 2) specifies that in England, breeders sought to produce a larger, more substantial type of zebra finch, and that is why today English finches are known for their robust appearances. The birds also tend to have more rounded bodies than other varieties.

German Zebra Finches

German zebra finches are typically even larger than their already plus-sized English counterparts. In addition, E Finch notes that the German varieties of zebra finches tend to have tubular, or more elongated bodies, in comparison to the bulbous English varieties.

American / Wild Zebra Finches

American breeders did not attempt to increase the size of zebra finches, but instead sought to preserve their natural qualities; making them as similar to their original, wild Australian forbearers as possible. According to Birds N Ways (See Reference 3), wild zebra finches feature bright orange legs, beaks, and cheek patches, grey plumage on their backs, and black bands that stretch across an otherwise white or off-white chest. They also have white and brown spots beneath their wings.

White Zebra Finches

White zebra finches are the lightest-coloured variation of the species, as Birds N Ways (See Reference 3) notes. While still having orange legs and beaks, like wild zebra finches, white zebra finches have no other distinguishing marks or colours. The birds have completely white or off-white bodies and particularly dark eyes. Despite their colour, white zebra finches are not albinos.

Fawn Cheek Zebra Finches

According to E Finch (See Reference 4), the fawn cheek type of zebra finch has light brownish-yellow patches on its cheeks, as opposed to the more common bright orange. In addition, the areas on the bird that are usually grey on a wild finch, such as its back, are much lighter or white in colour on a fawn cheek.

Florida Fancy Zebra Finches

Florida fancy zebra finches have yellowish-beige underparts and nearly white chests and upper bodies. Similar to wild zebra finches, Florida fancies have bright orange cheek patches. However, unlike the wild varieties, which often have black tear drop shapes accompanying the patches, Florida fancies have no black colouration on their faces. In addition, they have no bars running across their chests.

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About the Author

Erik Devaney is a writing professional specializing in health and science topics. His work has been featured on various websites. Devaney attended McGill University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies.