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Systematic classification and general information
Species: L. flaviprimna Gould, 1845
Belonging to the genus "Lonchura", this small estrildide represents one of the most bred species in captivity. Part of the large group of Australian Estrildidae, this bird lives in an area that goes from western Australia to northern Queensland. Its ideal habitat is wooded areas with open grassy areas. During the periods of extreme drought, these birds become migratory, forced to move in search of water sources.
Donacola Gray head - Lonchura flaviprimna (photo http://amadina.ru)
Pair of Donacola Gray head - Lonchura flaviprimna (photo http://amadina.ru)
Features: small bird about 11 cm long; among the smallest Australian estrildidae. Unmistakable livery: the predominant color of the body is brown, which goes from the wings to the tail, and the back. The belly and chest are yellow-orange. The rump is straw yellow. The head, as its common name says, is light gray, which gradually fades more apologetically towards the nape. The legs are dark flesh. The eyes are dark brown. The beak is lead gray, very robust. In this species the sexual dimorphism is very evident, as in the males the area of the head is clearer and more uniform, unlike the females.
The fact that the sex is recognizable by the color of the head greatly favors the breeding of this species. In captivity it is quite common and does not create many problems to reproduce as it is a very calm and docile species and easily manages to acclimatise and reproduce even in small cages. Usually, in most cases, the use of nurses is not necessary to breed these birds, since they breed almost all of them in purity.
Its singing, although of shorter duration, is very similar to that of the common domestic canary.
In nature this bird lives in small family groups, which sometimes become real colonies and flocks. Sometimes it happens that these flocks also join other similar species, such as the "Donacola chestnut brown". As in all Australian bird species, the gray-headed Donacola also reproduces in its natural state, coinciding with the end of the rainy season, where the large influx of water has brought a real rebirth of vegetation and therefore an abundance of food , necessary for the support of the nestlings. It is a granivorous species, which feeds in nature on seeds and grains, which chop with their powerful beak. Their diet also varies with fruits, buds, berries, and sometimes even small insects, the latter mainly used as a protein intake for chickens. Both the male and the female alternate in the construction of the nest and also in the hatching, which lasts about 13 days, after laying 4 to 5 eggs. The chickens, which are always born fledged and blind, are cared for by both parents and grow very quickly. Already at the third week of life they are ready to leave the nest. In captivity, the classic "cassette" nico must be used, preferably in plastic (washable), which the Donacolas cover with coconut and jute fibers.
As a diet in a cage, in addition to the normal mix of exotics, a pastoncino with a good lipid and protein percentage is used and also live prey to feed the young. Fruits and vegetables must be present at least twice a week.
As part of the ornithological exhibitions it is not difficult to be able to admire specimens of this species, which are highly appreciated by many breeders of exotic species.
Card created by Federico Vinattieri http://ornitologia.difossombrone.it