Red Avadavat or Strawberry Finch

Amandava amandava

The red avadavat (also known as strawberry finch or red munia) is a sparrow-sized bird that is native to southern Asia. Avadavats inhabit open grasslands and paddy fields and breed during the tropical monsoon season. They are gregarious during the non-breeding season, forming flocks of up to 100 birds.

Red avadavats are popular cage birds due to the male’s colorful breeding plumage. Average lifespan is ~7–8 years, but they have been known to live up to 10 years in captivity.

Did You Know?

The Red Avadavat is native to southern Asia.


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

Some Cause for Concern

Red avadavats are found over a large geographic range and wild populations appear to be healthy in most regions. Wild individuals are harvested for the pet trade and there is evidence they are imported and traded illegally in many Asian wildlife markets.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

Only purchase a pet red avadavat from a reputable breeder or distributor to ensure that you are not buying an illegally wild-caught and/or imported animal. Additionally, ask for proof that your animal was captive-bred; PetWatch strongly recommends only purchasing captive-bred birds to ensure that wild populations can continue to thrive.

Invasion Threat

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

Significant Cause for Concern

Red avadavats are capable of colonizing new areas outside their native range. They have established self-sustaining populations in Japan, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Israel. Due to their ability to live in many different habitats and potentially damage crops, red avadavats are considered invasive.

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?

Some 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.

As with all birds, red avadavats imported and traded illegally may not receive good care. Furthermore, traders have been known to use a green dye on female red avadavats so that they can be sold as the more valuable and rare green avadavat.

Red avadavats are considered fairly hardy and do well in captivity. In addition to the usual needs, they do best in aviaries large enough to allow flight. Under poor conditions, the plumage, especially of males, becomes less vibrant. There is evidence also that sunlight is important for maintaining bright coloring, so indoor birds need full spectrum light.

Red avadavats are social and can usually be kept in aviaries with other birds. However, breeding birds can be aggressive and should be housed separately and/or closely monitored.

EcoHealthy Recommendation:

When purchasing a pet red avadavat, ask for proof that the animal was bred in captivity by a professional with a permit to sell the animal. Be sure to research specific care requirements. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper diet and how to maintain a healthy weight for your pet.

Health Threat

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

Little Cause for Concern

All finches may carry bacteria of concern to humans such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.  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.  Finches may also carry parasites such as coccidia, of risk 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.
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