Striated Finch, Sharp-tailed Finch, White-backed finch, wild Bangalese
One look at the White-rumped mannikin and there is no question of their relationship with the domesticated Society (Bengalese) finch. Males and females are identical in appearance. Like most members of the Lonchura family, the best way to distinguish the sexes is through behavior. The male's courtship song and dance is nearly identical to the Society finch. It is not as loud or as frequent, but in general it is the same. They are also shy about singing that song in their keeper's presence. As you can see in the above picture, I use a rather large band that can be easily seen across the aviary in my attempts to sex these and other mannikins. (plastic bands)
They are smaller than most domestic society finches and I have seen them sold at bird marts as wild society, rare society and self chocolate society. They are not a society finch. The Society is a domesticated version of this finch, and could be considered a subspecies of the wild form. Other than the white on the rump, which varies in brightness and can only be seen when the bird moves its wings, you will not find any white feathers on the Striated finch. White feathers under the chin or elsewhere may indicate a cross with the domesticated variety.
This bird, like most mannikins, is a hardy bird. They will be happy on a basic finch maintenance diet. You may offer a standard finch mix, but even though they are small, they'll prefer the larger seeds of a parakeet mix. Eating mostly the large white millet and snacking on the canary and oats. I also offer them egg food (Roy's egg food) and gamebird crumbles and some green food. They may take some livefood, but I have never seen them eat any. Calcium should be offered in the form of crushed egg shells, crushed oyster shells and cuttlebone.
You will find that the imported stock is very hyper. These are not your calm Society finches. They will dart about quickly. I have offered them standard finch boxes and they will take either a half open or hole entrance. Like society finches though, they will all stuff themselves into one box. I have not made a great effort to get them to breed, so I can't say if they have even laid eggs. They are currently flighted with my Timor Zebras and get along with them just fine, but are probably overwhelmed by the number of Timors. They should settle down and raise some young if given the proper accommodations. I will attempt to cage breed them in the future. Trying trios or true pairs if they can be identified. (10/00)
There are number of subspecies of this very common mannikin. They are spread throughout most of Asia. Even as common as it is in the wild, it is not seen in aviculture very much. Perhaps this is due to the low demand for "another brown bird".
Some believe that the cross between the wild Striated finch and the domesticated Society finch produces a superior strain of fostering birds. I only had one "hybrid" bird and will say that it was a superior parent, but can't say whether it was any better than some of my other fostering societies. It was however a richly marked and dark chocolate color.