What Are the Different Types of Finches?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

There are many different types of finches, and they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. The most commonly owned types of finches include the society, zebra finch, and Gouldian finch. These birds usually live for several years and generally only grow to be a few inches (no more than about 10 cm) long. Many people find finches to be good pets because of their docile nature and appealing appearances.


The zebra finch is one of the most common domesticated types of finches. Native to Australia, zebra finches are named for the white and black stripes the males possess. They are also known for their brightly colored red or orange plumage, however.

Zebra finches exercise a good deal and need a lot of space for staying active. Many experts recommend keeping these birds in a large enclosure, often referred to as an aviary, instead of a small cage. Experts also recommend keeping zebra finches with other birds, as they are very social.

Another commonly domesticated type of finch is the society finch. Each society finch is unique, and no two look alike, despite the fact that most of these birds only have one or two feather colors. This bird is a mix of two finch types bred in captivity, so a person is unlikely to see one in the wild. Unlike other birds, a society finch's sex cannot be distinguished by the color of its feathers. Only the males, however, have the ability to sing.

Society finches often get lonely when they aren't around other birds, so it is recommended that pet owners keep more than one at a time. Like the zebra finch, the society finch needs a lot of space to fly. It can be kept inside or outdoors when it is warm, and when properly cared for, this bird can live for more than a decade.

Gouldian finches, which are known for their varied color combinations, are also common among the types of finches kept as pets. These birds, however, are considered more challenging to care for than some other types, and experts often recommend other choices for those less experienced with owning birds. Breeding these birds is also more difficult than with the zebra finch or the society finch, as they are often picky about choosing mates. Gouldian finches also prefer a large space in which to move and fly around, and are not usually aggressive. As such, they are often housed with other small, docile birds.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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