Accidental hybrids between parrotfinch species are quite commonly produced by inexperienced finch hobbyists. Unfortunately hybrid finches are considered worthless among most aviculturalists, who claim such birds reduce the genetic variability within the captive stock – which is ultimately damaging to the hobby.
Parrotfinch hybrids can occur between the Blue-faced parrotfinch, Red-faced Parrotfinch, Tricolored parrotfinch and, in rare cases, the Gouldian finch. Other parrotfinch species are not as commonly kept and little about their hybridization tendencies are known, though it’s safe to assume they will hybridize much the same as the other species.
The easiest way to avoid accidental hybrids is to avoid housing any two of the parrotfinch species in the same aviary. Some aviculturalists report that housing the species in adjoining aviaries has also resulted in hybrids, so it’s best to ensure that the birds do not have any direct contact with one another.
Gouldian finches can be safely housed with parrotfinch species, as the likelihood of them hybridizing is immensely low. Parrotfinch cock birds typically instigate breeding activities by chasing – and in the case of the Blue-faced parrotfinch, violently raping – the hen bird. Blue-faced x Gouldian hybrids are therefore most likely to involve a cock blue-faced and hen Gouldian. Ensuring there are an adequate number of parrotfinch hens is the most reliable way of ensuring this hybrid does not occur.
What if you accidentally produce a hybrid finch? Though opinion varies, many would argue that the person who bred the bird has a moral obligation to house the bird for its entire lifespan. The bird should be housed separately from other breeding parrotfinches, just in case it’s not infertile (highly unlikely) and accidentally contaminates the gene pool further by breeding with a non-hybrid bird.