The Pin-tailed Parrot Finch - a real challenge
created and presented by
                       Helmuth Hillar
created and presented by
                       Helmuth Hillar
Latin: Erythrura prasina    English: Pin-tailed nonpareil    German: Lauchgrüne
With few words I would like to introduce myself. I am a German breeder and I
concern myself with bird keeping and breeding for more than 30 years. I live
approximately 80km north of the largest German lake, the " Bodensee ". There
is a temperate climate the whole year. My finches live during the summer
months, from May to Octobers, outside in an planted garden aviary. From
October to April I breed different exotic finches in an indoor plant in my house.
Today I breed Australian, African and Asian finches. In this article I would like to
present the Pin-tailed Parrot Finch, one of the most colourful finches in Asia.
Parrot Finch lovers maintain the Pin-tailed Parrot Finch is the most beautiful
Parrot Finch. Nevertheless the Pin-tailed Parrot Finch was never as popular as:
Peale’s Parrot Finch, Red-eared Parrot Finch, Three-coloured Parrot Finch, Blue-
faced Parrot Finch or Red-headed Parrot Finch. Often we see these species by
breeders. The Pin-tailed Parrot finch is considered as difficult to keep and breed.
It places special requirements against feeding and temperature.
In order to breed Pin-tails successfully, I developed my individual seed mixture
for them. A wide range of
food consists of large
millet sorts and cereal:
Groats, wheat, Silver
millet, La Plata millet,
White millet, Red millet
This mixture is enriched
with a commercial diet
for waxbills and
parrotlets without
sunflowers. I provide this
mixed seed diet
preferentially in
germinated condition.
The seed mixture
germinates in special soil
for birds. When chicks
are in the nest,
additionally half-ripe millet,
grass seed and wheat is fed. In order to keep the birds on a long-term basis
healthy, it is necessary to provide them with essential animal protein. The birds
eat preferred ant eggs and maggots. The nutrition orients itself at the fodder
admission in free nature. Asia has up to three rice harvests in the year. Pintails
fly into the rice plantations and eat mainly half-ripe rice the whole year.
Daily I offer them a fresh mineral mix, eggshells and Vitamin D3. One time a
week I provide them with a vitamin supplement in the drinking water.
The attitude temperature for my Pin-tailed Parrot Finches is 16 to 21 degrees. At
the onset of  breeding season the ambient temperature amounts to 21 degrees
with on the average 60 percent humidity.
© copyright H. Hillar
created and presented by
                       Helmuth Hillar
The breeding boxes for Pin-tailed Parrot Fiches are 2,80m long, 0,80m high and 0,90m broad. The front consists of
slides out of glass. I breed them successfully in small colonies with three couple. The birds are in best condition
when breeding starts. They have finished moulting, they are fully feathered and show now their beautiful colours.
Already soon the males begin to impress to the females. They carry a stem in the bill, make themselves large and
vibrate rhythmically the head and the tail. They show the females it bright red upper tail and belly plumage. Now
you can hear all the time the raspy whistling songs of the males.
The male selects the nesting place. Preferred they build there nests in reed, but they use also wooden nest boxes
or the typical finch nesting baskets. In one day the couple builds with dry grasses, straw and coconut fibre a nest
with a little roof. Their nests are often closed to the ground. Both birds are responsible for the incubation duties and
rearing of the chicks. The clutch consists four to six eggs are incubated for 12 to 13 days.
The problems begin with the hatched chicks. Male and female warm their young only 4 to 7 days. At this time
compellingly an ambient temperature of 25 degrees is necessary. Otherwise the body temperature of the young
birds reduces and they die. Pintails are very good parents and rearing their offspring reliably. At the age of 9 days I
ring the young birds with 2,8mm plastic rings. Well developed young fledge after 18 / 19 days. After further four
weeks the fledglings are independent. With three months they begin to moult. After 8 to 10 weeks they finished
moulting. With 9 months they reach sexual maturity.
In the summer, from May to Septembers, the Pin-tails live outdoor in my protected aviary in the garden. Here they
got over temperatures from 35 to 4 degrees well. They are not as sensitive as we believe. They love the sun. Now
their pictorial colours become effective completely. Fantastically like the colony moves in the aviary. I love the Pin-
tailed Parrot Finch. Their always smooth plumage, the bright colours and its pronounced social behavior.
Pin-tailed Parrot Finches are a challenge. There are many problems to master still. Nevertheless I would like to put
it to your heart. Please concern you with the preservation of these beautiful Parrot Finch in captivity. I support you
Variants, mutations and hybrids 
The yellow-bellied variant
heritability: rezessiv
The yellow-bellied variant of the Pin-tailed Parrot Finch occurs in small measure also in free nature. With this colour
variant the red plumage portions are replaced by yellow feathers. I have bred two yellow-bellied females 2005 and
2007. The dutch breeder Albert Tamming possesses a small colony with yellow-bellied birds of own offspring.
The blue mutation
P. J. Maijer presented the blue mutation of the Pin-tailed Parrot Finch in the German magazine “AZ-Nachrichten “
1990. The photo shows a female of this interested mutation. Such changes develop, if the inheriting information for
the yellow colour portion is lost. The green plumage appears blue with this mutation. Breast and belly are brown.
The sea-green mutation
Daniel Wildemeersch describes the sea-green mutation on his Belgian homepage. The plumage is paler in this
mutation. Crown, nape, back and wings of this male are sea-green.
The pied mutation
2006 the first pied Pin-tailed Parrot Finch was bred. The parents are two imported birds. Both birds are normal
coloured. The offspring was a pied male.
The beak is almost white. Crown, back and wings are yellow-green pied. Mask, throat, breast are white coloured
with few green feathers. On belly, upper tail and tail appears the typical red.
Hybrids: Pin-tailed Parrot Finch x Red-headed Parrot Finch
Often Pin-tailed Parrot Finch import birds were kept with Red-headed Parrot Finches for acclimatization. Frequently
from these attitude conditions hybrids developed. Red-headed females reared their offspring reliable. I could see a
male and a female of these hybrids with my friend W. Kutschker 2004. The birds were pretty. The male showed a
big red mask and throat with a blue forehead. Further breeding results were missing.