|Cutthroat Finch - Amadina fasciata|
|Cutthroat Finch male|
If all goes well, the chicks will remain in the nest until about 18 to 21 days. The males are usually identifiable upon fledging (27 day old male) by the red slash under their chin. The breast and belly of the male matches the hens at this time. Fledglings are independent within 2 to 3 weeks after leaving the nest. Best to be safe and leave them for the full 3 weeks if not longer.
I passed my last pair of birds on to another breeder who was very successful fostering the eggs under society finches. They can be a difficult species to foster due to the differences in the begging behavior. Cutthroats stretch straight up, similar to a canary, rather than turning their head in typical estrildid fashion. This combined with their dark skin with fuzz, different mouth markings and noisy begging from day 1, has the society finches wondering what has emerged from the egg. I believe that it is important or at least you stand a better chance of success if you allow the eggs to hatch under the societies rather than transferring chicks to the fosters. The differences from the Society's own chicks seems to put them off so perhaps seeing them come out of the egg reassures them that these chicks are theirs and not a bug that has jumped into the nest.
In mixed colonies, Cutthroats can be somewhat aggressive. They can certainly defend themselves against larger species. I have seen male Cutthroats carry the hatchlings out of the nests of other species. If not breeding however, these birds can be calm and gentle in a mixed flight.
One additional difficulty I had with Cutthroats, was a tendency to become eggbound. Eggbinding is a nutritional deficiency (see Robert Black's article) that if addressed will eliminate this problem. My last pair of Cutthroats were producing clutch after clutch of eggs without difficulty so I felt confident that I had overcome this problem. In addition to the added nutrition in my egg food mix (Roy's Egg Food), I used a liquid calcium supplement that also had additional vitamin D3 that is needed to absorb the calcium (Calcivet from Vetafarms.)
There are several mutations developed in Europe. A yellow band that changes the red throat band to yellow, an all white bird with red ribbon, a dilute form with muted markings on a nearly white body as well as others currently being developed. I have heard of a Fawn, but not sure what that looks like or if it is firmly established.
There are several known subspecies of the cutthroat of which two are seen in aviculture (A. f. meridionalis & A.f. alexanderi), but neither is very common.
Cutthroats should not be housed with Red Headed finches while breeding. They will produce fertile hybrids.
Mouth markings are similar to those of the Red Headed finch. They are easily seen as the bird has a very wide gape and stretches his head straight up while begging rather than the typical estrildid finch's bent neck posture.
Cutthroat Finch (male left, female right)