The Timor Zebra Finch


Photo taken by Roy Beckham of San Jose, CA.


If you want a Zebra Finch that is a far removed from regular Zebras as you can get, the Timor Zebra is one you would enjoy. This tiny cousin of the Australian Zebra, is half the size of a standard Zebra Finch, about the same size as a medium Waxbill. Timor Zebras come from the Timor Islands, located north of Australia and south of New Guinea. This supspecies of the Zebra Finch has been isolated from the mainland Australian population long enough to have evolved its own distinctive call and markings. The voice is a higher pitch call that is completely different from typical Zebras. The male Timor completely lacks the striations on the throat and upper breast leading to the breast bar. The are as seen above is completely free of any markings. Female Timors look nearly identical to the Australian Zebra with the exception of a smaller tear drop mark and the different call. Overall the Timor Zebra is a superb very small, very different Zebra.

The birds I have are wild caught imported stock that entered the US some 4 years ago. Timor Zebras are quite rare in aviculture both in the US and Europe. Don't expect this diminutive Zebra to breed as readily as the standard Zebras. They thrive in aviary and do quite well, much more so than they will in small cages. I personally don't think Timor Zebras will breed in individual small cages that standard Zebras breed in. This behavior is do doubt due to their "recent wild" acquisition. Nevertheless they are free breeding in aviaries.There are no color mutations of the Timor Zebra. All are as pictured above. Yes they will readily cross with Australian Zebra but to do so is fruitless and ruins the character and purity of the Timor. Don't even consider it! Hybridization of the two should NOT be even a last resort.

I really like them. Having had Zebras for so many years it is really quite a thrill to have a Zebra look alike that is so distinct from the common Zebra we are so familiar with. Their small size alone is very appealing to me, and the very different song only enhances the uniqueness of this rare little finch. I have two colonies of wild caught birds and am breeding Timors, and occasionally have surplus to offer for sale.   They are not difficult to breed but certainly not as prolific as domestic Zebras. They accept boxes of wicker baskets with seemingly no special preference.

Below is a map showing the distribution of the Timor Zebra and the Australian Zebra Finch. As well as a few other photos (taken by Roy Beckham)

I no longer know of any one keeping Timor Zebra Finches.