What Do Finches Eat? A Complete Guide To Feeding Finches

finches eating from bird feeder

If you desire a feathered pet but are not ready to take on the hassles of tending a parrot, finches are the ideal substitute. Finches are quiet, non-communicative birds who enchant their owners with their aerial tricks and their social ingenuity.

Of the many species of finches, some have brilliant plumage, some sound heavenly and some are flock- smart.

Because of their pleasant sound, fascinating social interactions with their flock mates, and, in the case of the Gouldian finch, their awesome aesthetic, finches are beloved as companion pets and people want to attract finches to their gardens.

What are Finches?

Flinch is a broad category of birds that is used informally to designate any of the numerous hundreds little passerine birds.

They may include the zebra finch, Gouldian finch, owl finch, and society finch, which are the finch species most frequently kept as pets. They are socially smart birds and prefer living in communities.

With other finches, they will be happy living in a sizable flight cage or aviary. Finches spend a significant amount of their day vocally interacting with one another, and their calls and songs can occasionally be annoying.  

Finches could be a suitable alternative for people who wanted to have a feathered pet but can’t keep one because of their neighbours who show their aversion for head splitting screeches of parrots or the late-night melodies of songbirds.

Finches are very quiet comparatively.  The majority of their vocalisations are peep and meep noises, mostly made by the males and aren’t disturbing enough.

Where are Finches found?

They are found inhabiting majorly the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, South America, and portions of Africa, where they are counted among the prominent songbirds. They do rank among the most numerous species and individuals of birds in several habitats.

Many finches can winter in cold climates due to their seed-eating habits, therefore they make up an even higher portion of the bird population during that time. Finches commonly build nests, so, it’s not rare to find a flinch nest.

They also sometimes make aviary their nest. Most species’ females lay four or five eggs in a cup-shaped nest made of twigs, grasses, and roots that they construct on the ground or in bushes.

Sometimes the female lays the eggs by herself, but often the male helps care for the young. In one season, two or three broods may be reared.

Although finches typically nest in solitary couples, they are quite social and frequently observed in big groups.

What do Finches like to eat?

Finches are known as seed eaters and like to eat many different foods including bird seed, weed seeds, grass seeds, empty seed shells, cooked meat, honey sticks, seed husks, pelleted food, seed kernel and even grape jelly like orioles.

Here are some types of food that these bird’s diet include:

Dehydrated fruits

Finches enjoy their sugary treats whether in juicy form or dehydrated. You may give your finches from a range of dry fruits as currants, raisins, and sultanas.

Or, you can just, dehydrate slices of pear, apples and oranges in sunlight and store them for regular feeding.

They have a distinct advantage over fruits and vegetables in that they are not quickly perishable.

If you are sourcing packaged dry-fruits from supermarket, then you should watch out for organic dried fruits free of colouring and preservatives.


Finches are omnivores, so they can be fed a variety of insects and moths as well. Mealworms are an ideal bird feed.

They are rich in protein, hence the best food you can offer to your pet finches. Mealworms are favourite live food of finches.  

If you do not have the means to get them naturally, then you can get them from the supermarket in containers in semi-dormant state.

Mealworms are a excellent food source for finches, are accessible all year long, and may be bred at home to meet your pet finch’s nutritional needs.

Chunky vegetables

Interestingly, finches do not forget to get their doses of greens and veggies. A broad range of vegetables a that are healthy for finches’ stomachs are enjoyed by them.

The list contains courgettes, bell peppers of all colours, green beans, winter squash, yellow corn cobs, peas, and sweet potatoes in addition to tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, green courgette, cabbage, and tomatoes.

By eating the vegetables, finches ensure that they are supplemented with Iron, fibre, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, salt, zinc, carbohydrate, and practically all sorts of vitamins that are among the many nutrients found in these veggies.

When placing the vegetables on bird feeders, make sure they are well washed to avoid any trace of pesticide or herbicide that can be potentially ingested by poor birds.

If the vegetables are big-size, cut them in chunks that can be easily munched on by finches if placed in bird feeders in your backyard.

Juicy or dried Berries

Berries like fruits are beloved to finches. Mulberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, serviceberries, hackberries, cranberries, and a variety of other berries are among the various berries they eat as food.

You may feed different kinds of berries to your pet finches if you have some. To make sure that your finches can easily consume the pieces, be sure to chop the berries into little pieces.

Before slicing the berries, wash them in clean water to make sure they do not have any chemical leftovers on them.

Stem, Stalks and Leaves

Anything green in food never fails.  Fortunately, finches are fond of leafy and stalky vegetables packed with nutrients.

Dandelion, lettuce, chickweed, spinach, water spinach, amaranth, nasturtium, parsley, mustard cress, fennel bulb, and celery are some of the leafy greens that finches eat.

These greens are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like fibre, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, magnesium, and zinc.

But here’s a caution, only a tiny amount of greens should be given to your finches if you wish to feed them any because greens consists of majorly water.

So if you feed them a lot of green and leafy vegetables, finches can get diarrhoea and diarrhoea can be terminal for finches as well.


Get your finches used to eating pellets if you want to give them extra nourishment. Pellets may typically be created in a variety of methods.

Whatever pellets you choose to give your finches will satisfy their dietary requirements.

Reduce the amount of seeds in their feeding dish gradually up to 8 weeks.

As an alternative, feed finches more pellets over time and ever combine seeds with pellets. If not, your finches will remove the seeds while leaving the pellets alone.


Wax worms are an additional food choice that you might choose to provide to your pet finches. Mealworms, wax worms, and wax moth larvae are all easily accessible.

Despite having a lesser nutritional content, they are soft, pulpy, and simple to digest, making them suitable for feeding young chickens.

If you can’t get them harvested naturally, go to a farm nearby or look for packaged worm options in the bird feeding section of your local supermarket.

What is the best food for finches?

Food for finches will vary depending on the specific species of finch and its individual dietary needs. However, in general, a good diet for finches should include a variety of seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Many pet stores sell commercial bird mixes that are specially formulated for finches and other small birds.

What do finches eat besides seeds?

Finches also eat insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates. This is especially important for young finches, as they need the extra protein to help them grow.

In the wild, finches also eat nectar from flowers. Some pet finches enjoy eating nectar substitutes that can be purchased at pet stores. You can also offer your finch fresh fruits and vegetables as part of its diet.

Many finches enjoy eating leafy greens, diced apples, and shredded carrots.

What do house finches eat in the wild?

House finches are native to North America, and in the wild, they eat a diet that includes seeds, fruits, and insects. Fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their regular diet. Many house finches eat leafy greens, diced apples, and shredded carrots.

What Finches Eat In the Winter?

In the winter, finches continue to be granivorous. They consume both seeds and insects. The birds eat nyjer, black oil sunflower seeds, and hulled sunflower seeds. During this period, many species of finch visit numerous seed-bearing blossoms.

In the winter, finches consume both live and dried mealworms given by many backyard birders. These birds may also be found dining on fruits and berries in the wild or at a bird feeder in a neighbor’s yard. They can even be observed feeding on suet dishes.

What Do Baby Finches Eat?

Baby finches eat the same foods as adult finches, although they may need to eat more frequently because of their high metabolism. (Check our guide on what should you feed a baby bird?)

What finches should not eat?

There are some foods that finches should not eat, including

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado

Finches Diet By Types

Finches are small, beautiful birds that come in a variety of colors and patterns. There are many different types of finches, and each has its unique appearance and song.

Some of the most popular types of finches include the zebra finch, the house finch, and the Canary Islands finch. Other less well-known but still lovely varieties include the Gouldian finch, the red-headed finch, and the Cordon Bleu finch.

What do zebra finches eat?

Zebra finches are small, sparrow-like birds that are native to Australia. In the wild, they eat a diet that includes seeds, insects, and green plants.

What do house finches eat?

House finches eat seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, berries, and greens. They search for insects, such as caterpillars and beetles. Thistle and black oil sunflower seeds are preferred by house finches in seeds.

What do Canary Islands finches eat?

The wild canary is a tiny finch native to the Azorean, Madeiran, and Canary Islands’ Macaronesian islands. Since the 17th century, the bird has been bred in captivity, with Spanish explorers bringing it to Europe via conquest of the Macaronesian islands. They love to eat any type of small insect.

What do Gouldian finches eat?

Peanuts are a favorite food of all Gouldian finches, which may be seen in their droppings. They also eat native weeds and vegetation, such as chamise, pepper grass seeds, fiddleneck, and more. Insects, tree buds, and tree galls make up the bulk of their meal plans.

What do red-headed finches eat?

Red-headed finches enjoy seeds, insects, and green plants. you can offer your red-headed finch fresh fruits and vegetables as part of its diet.

What do Cordon Bleu finches eat?

Many Cordon Bleu finches enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, diced apples, and shredded carrots.

What do purple finches eat?

The Purple Finch is a small finch with pale grey upperparts, bright purple underparts, and dark wings.

Finches are generally wild birds and un the wild they primarily eat nyjer, maple, tulip, and elm seeds.

They will consume various insects including grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and mealworms when they are available. Honeysuckles (Calycanthus), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), and crabapples (Malus sylvestris) are among their favorite foods in the wild.

Conclusion – What do finches eat?

The finch is a robust, stout-looking, small songbird with a thick beak that frequently has a range of brilliant colours. In most parts of the world, finches are widespread and are frequently kept as pets. As much as humans do, finches appreciate variety in their food too.

Although finches typically consume seeds and grains as black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, thistle seeds, etc, there are numerous items in their dietary chart that they enjoy and those supplement and increase their health.

Finches are increasingly fond of munching on dried slices of fruits or a fresh celery stick or a chunk of cucumber.

We have increasingly covered everything that was required for you to know regarding finches’ diet and what foods they enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I give rice to finches?

As long as it is not cooked in oil or seasoned, rice can be consumed by finches in any form. Mind that it cannot even be mildly salted.

Raw rice i.e. grain form is a healthy food source for finches. The grain is rather preferred by finches as they have hard beaks which are modified for crushing grains.

Larger birds have little trouble handling the grains of raw rice.

However, the birds won’t deny soaked or boiled rice either. If you have regular visitors and cooked rice from your kitchen leftovers, it can be provided to finches unless it is not contaminated and hasn’t turned stale.

Not even finches, even grackles, blue jays, blackbirds, and starlings would readily consume soaked or cooked rice. So, don’t be averse to giving rice to finches.

Can finches be fed bread?

I will strongly advise against giving bread to finches since there are simply too many dangers of feeding bread than not feeding anything. Breads often catch fungus pretty fast and that can be harmful to birds if it is mouldy and can cause a range of health issues to them.

Additionally, the digestive tract might really become blocked if the bread pieces are too big. If birds regularly consume bread, the absence of nutrition results in vitamin deficiencies that cause major, often deadly health problems.

Bread can also draw rats, raccoons, and other unwanted visitors which pose a danger to finches.

What vegetables do finches eat?

If you own a pet bird, then your finch will benefit greatly from eating vegetables and soft green sprouts. Give it rocket leaves, spinach endives, or escaroles.

These are the easiest green options that birds can be acclimatized to eat. Other suggested choices are dandelions and stalks of the common green leafy varieties that you may find in any field like cucumbers, chard, cabbage leaves, and Bok choy.

Keep in mind that you need to frequently replace their fruit and veggies to prevent spoilage and be sure not to feed your finches too much celery or lettuce, as these stems contain a high amount of water and can make the birds sick. It is therefore advisable to consider alternatives.

What fruits do finches like?

Fruits are a delectable, nutrient-dense feed choice that your finches will undoubtedly enjoy. Birds are particularly attracted to brightly coloured and sugary food alternatives. (Here’s how you can attract finches to your yard.)

Fruits are best food choices for birds also because they provide a lot of carbohydrates in the form of sugar, vitamins and anti-oxidants, which birds require.

Out of the countless varieties of fruits, kiwis, oranges, pear, berries, and apples are some highly advised supplements that can give your finches fresh life and vitality.

When serving fruits at your bird feeder, make sure to serve fresh fruits apart from dried fruits on feeding stations as fresh fruit enzymes cause the fruit to decay faster.

The fruit and vegetables can be offered on the ground if you have an aviary. This appeals to the natural tendencies of finches, who forage for fruits and seeds on the ground in the wild.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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