One of the more fascinating facts about these birds is that the male will look like a different bird during breeding season than he does during the rest of the year. One change is his tail. It goes from a normal finch type tail to a tail from 12” to 20” in length. The rest of his feathers change also and he will not resemble the brown, sparrow-like bird that he looks like when it is not breeding season. The Pin-Tail Whydah becomes a distinctive black & white, with long black tail feathers and the Paradise Whydah becomes a glossy black bird with a rust coloured breast that fades to white on the lower abdomen.
These birds can not be kept in a small cage and the male must have room to fly & perch where his tail does not drag on the ground or get caught in the cage bars.
The male is quite aggressive during breeding season and they would do best with 1 male, plus a few females in a flight with a few pairs of suitable host birds. They require a host bird because the Whydahs do not raise their own babies. They will lay their eggs in a nest belonging to a Waxbill finch
Because the Whydah chicks are larger than the Waxbill chicks, and beg louder than the Waxbill chicks, the foster parents will feed them and allow their own chicks to die and/or be pushed out of the nest by the Whydah chicks.
If you have enough Waxbill nests going at the same time, you may be successful in removing the Waxbill eggs from the nests with Whydah eggs and adding them to Waxbill nests that only have Waxbill eggs.
If you like the look of this finch, but do not plan on breeding them, you would be better to just have one male in a mixed flight. He will still come in breeding plumage, but because there is no female, he will not be as aggressive and can continue to be kept with the rest of the birds.
You can see a picture of the male Pintail Whydah and one of the male Paradise Whydah by following the links to the Honolulu Zoo Website.
Take the Canary & Finch Quiz to see how much you know about these birds.
Here are a couple of books from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca that you may wish to take a look at.
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