Breeding and selection of gray zebrafinch

1. Introduction

The zebrafinch gray comes from the wild type. It corresponds to the original type of the mandarin diamond.
It is therefore not strictly speaking a mutation. However, the gray zebrafinch we know so far, is very different from its Australian ancestor. Following a selection by the breeders, the type, the size and the color of it have evolved a lot.

2. Interest

Since gray is the basis of the existing mutations in the gray series (gray breast black, gray chest white, gray dôs pale, etc), the breeding of it is essential for the survival of all these mutations. The zebrafinch gray will thus "regenerate" all these mutations.

3. Who is grazing for ?

The breeding of gray zebrafinch is recommended for beginners and can also become very exciting for the more experienced.
Indeed, despite an attraction at first glance less spectacular than a zebrafinch with orange or pastel colors his breeding is even more interesting.

Femelle grise

4. Breeding

as a general rule, the reproduction of gray does not pose any particular problem, laying, brooding and feeding will take place without any problem.

The coupling to practice is gray x gray. Care should be taken never to introduce a mutant or mutant zebrafinch to keep a pure strain.
For differences between male and female it may be wise to build two strains: One that will bring together the birds with the qualities required to make good male and one that will meet the qualities of females.
The youngsters will need a period of time to complete their development, they will be kept a few months before making a selection to be exposed or / and the next breeding season.

5. Selection

The selection of the grays will be done on the type, the size, the drawings and the color of each part of the bird (back, belly, cheeks, flanks,

Here are the detailed characteristics that the breeder will seek to approach and gather in the gray :

Type and size

- The breeder will seek to obtain gray of a type and size very successful.


- Width of the tear line equal to the width of the eye.
- Cheeks perfectly delimited.
- Drawing of regular chest, going from one side to the other and wide of 3 mm.
- Zebra from the breast to the lower mandible of the bill (without a white area under the bill).
- Straight symmetrical tail tiles.


- Area between the beak and the line of white tear (without rejection of eumelanin).
- Orange cheeks as intense as possible (for the male).
- Brown chestnut flanks decorated with round white dots (for the male).
- Color of the belly tending towards the white for the male and of cream color for the female.
- The color of the back of an anthracite gray.

The following defects will be avoided :

- Falling tail.
- Break between the back and the head (non-alignment head, back, tail).
- Falling wings (flanks not visible).
- Narrowness of the head (pinched head).
- Zebra stitching up behind the cheeks.
- A lore exceeding the top of the eye.

Male gris

It will be necessary to distinguish the competition gray and the gray of work, however the birds of competition will also be able to be used for the breeding. Example of a work subject: A male with a belly of a cream color or brown will be able to serve in a mating that will aim to get good female.

The gray x brown coupling can be performed under certain conditions and for a specific purpose. Indeed if the color of the cheeks and flanks become too dull or melanized (black) following a very thorough selection to anthracite gray color this coupling becomes possible. The mating will preferably be a gray male on a brown female (a dull brown color tending towards gray, in short "a bad brunette").
We will keep only the females of this coupling because they will not be able to be brown carrier and thus you will avoid putting in danger in the long term the desired purity of your strain of gray.
The males that emerge from such a mating will all carry the brown mutation (sex-related mutation), we will see besides the effect of phaeomelanin (orange melanin) brought. The color of the cheeks and flanks will be more shimmering. Brown marks may be seen in the back of the bird.

6. Orientations

A gray with an overflowing tear (traces of eumelanin) towards the beak and / or a belly of "hot" color (cream) can be used for a strain of black face.
A very light gray can also be used for a pastel or pale back strain.

7. The competitions

the gray of competition must have a size and a type of very good level, obviously the drawings and colors will also play a role on the final score.
The characteristics of the gray male of exposure will be to have a blackest possible back (anthracite gray), a white belly, an intense orange cheek color contrasting with the dress of the bird, chestnut brown flanks decorated with round dots regular white, black and white tail tiles strictly aligned horizontally.
The gray show female will have a cream-colored belly, the tail bars will be with black and cream lines. The flanks will be of a more pronounced gray. She should not have a breast rejection (trace of eumelanin).

It should not in any way neglect the gray said "work" that have as much, see more importance than zebrafinch said contest. They will be the guarantors of the quality of your breeding in time.

This article was written in 2009. It is the result of breeding experiments, observations, and consultations.

Gray selection