Gouldian Finch

Erythrura gouldiae or Chloebia gouldiae

The Gouldian finch (also known as the Lady Gouldian finch, Gould's finch or rainbow finch) is a small, colorful songbird that is native to Northern Australia. The Gouldian finch prefers open, tropical woodlands and nests in tree hollows.

Due primarily to their exquisite coloring, Gouldian finches are popular pets for aviaries. They have an average lifespan of ~6 years.

Did You Know?

The Gouldian Finch is native to Northern Australia.


Does the harvest for wildlife trade or captive breeding of this species harm wild populations?

Some Cause for Concern

The Gouldian finch is listed as an endangered species in Australia. Large numbers were harvested for the local and international pet trade and the species is now locally extinct in many areas where it once thrived. Capture for the pet trade was banned in 1981, but wild populations of Gouldian finches are continuing to decline. Habitat loss, parasite infection, and lack of food are considered the main threats, but there is still some illegal trapping of wild individuals.

Gouldian finches are difficult to breed outside of their warm native climate, but there are successful captive breeding facilities in Australia and the southern United States. Gouldian finches remain in high demand as cage birds and it is legal to breed and keep them in captivity in the U.S.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

We strongly advise the purchase of captive-bred Gouldian finches from a reputable breeder who can provide proof of origin. We encourage people to choose birds with documentation verifying the bird was bred in the United States to safeguard against unwittingly purchasing a wild-caught individual.

Invasion Threat

Does the release or escape of this species into the wild harm the environment and/or economy?

Unable to Rank

EcoHealthy Pets found no evidence that Gouldian finches have established wild populations outside their native range.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

Before obtaining any non-traditional pet, check that it is legal to own one in your state of residence and check for permitting requirements. Only acquire a pet that is from a reputable breeder or dealer to ensure that you are not buying an illegally imported or wild-caught animal. Always keep your pet inside a safe and secure enclosure. Never release a pet into the wild.

Ease of Care

Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or being kept as a pet harm individual animals?

Significant Cause for Concern

Ease of care of many non-traditional pets depends on the individual owner’s years of experience and knowledge caring for a particular species. For the purposes of this website, we have geared information toward the benefit of the beginner.

Gouldian finches are difficult to keep in captivity. They need warm air temperatures (70º–77ºC) and cannot tolerate sudden or dramatic temperature changes. Thus, in most of the United States, they need to be housed in indoor aviaries.

Captive Gouldian finches are also highly susceptible to diseases and parasites. They are particularly vulnerable to fatal respiratory infections from air sac mites.

Some experts believe this high susceptibility to disease indicates that Gouldian finches are severely stressed by captivity.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

When purchasing a pet Gouldian finch, ask for proof that the animal was bred in captivity by a professional with a permit to sell the animal. Ensure that you have the time, resources, and knowledge necessary to keep this species as a pet.

Health Threat

Does this animal pose a health risk to native wildlife, humans, livestock and agriculture?

Some Cause for Concern

Gouldian finches may carry pathogens of concern to humans (especially if immunosuppressed) including Salmonella, Campylobacter, and the intracellular parasite, Encephalitozoon hellem. Finches and other passerines can carry and transmit Chlamydophila psittaci, which causes psittacosis, but less commonly than parrots and often only after being housed with an infected parrot.  Although less common in the U.S., this disease is potentially life-threatening for humans.

Additionally, Gouldian Finches can be carriers of diseases such as: paramyxovirus, polyomavirus, and several bacteria and parasites that may be harmful to other birds.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

When purchasing a pet bird, ask the seller if the animal has been checked by a veterinarian and for a list of any medical treatments the animal has received.

EcoHealth Alliance works at the intersection of ecosystem, animal and human health through local conservation programs and develops global health solutions to emerging diseases.
More about EcoHealth Alliance