The Java Rice bird, also known as the Temple Sparrow or Java Temple bird, is one of the largest finches. The sharp, clear markings of the always impeccable feathers makes this an extremely attractive finch. In addition to the original grey color, pure white and pied (grey birds with random white patches) Java Rice birds are also available.
Java Temple birds are very active. A cage for them must be very roomy. About thirty inches long, by eighteen inches in each of the other two dimensions, would be sufficient for a pair. This may seem like a large cage but Java Rice birds can only exercise by flying. A parakeet or cockatiel can `work out’ climbing on the cage bars.
Java Rice birds really do best in a flight. If the temperature does not go much below fifty degrees, they can be kept in an outdoor aviary. An indoor flight will be very good in any climate. Since Java Rice birds are a very muscular finch, don’t try to keep them in the same enclosure as Zebra finches, Society finches, Waxbills, Lady Gouldians, or any other small finch. The Java Rice birds will either murder the petite birds immediately or, even worse, they will slowly torment the little guys to death. Weavers and Button Quail do well with Java Rice birds. You might also give Whydahs and Green Singing finches a try.
Java Temple Sparrows eat just about anything. Mixing a fortified finch mix and keet mix together, keeps them very happy. Greens and nestling food should be fed daily. Apple, whole corn, and mealworms are all relished. Of course cuttlebone and health grit must always be available. As a change of pace, you can offer them any other healthy bird or human food, with the exceptions of chocolate and avocado. As might be gathered from the birds’ name, rice, especially brown rice, is greedily consumed. When I raised Java Rice birds, they ate anything that I put in the flight with great gusto. It’s a good idea to add vitamins to the drinking water.
Many fine pellets have been formulated that are complete diets. With the processed foods, no other supplements are required. Fresh foods should still be given for the sake of variety and to ensure a balanced diet.
Unfortunately, their bottomless pit of an appetite does not allow for a planted flight. All greenery and flowers will be shredded and consumed in short order. Plain natural twigs make the best perches.
No bird reproduces faster than the Java Rice bird. A regular parakeet nest box should be provided. A very good material for the birds to build a nest out of is the green outside leaves on the corn ear, the husks. If you don’t care for corn?on?the?cob, don’t worry – the Java Rice birds will eat all the corn that you give them! The parent birds require a high protein nestling food or pellets to feed the growing babies.
I have found it impossible to tell the male from the female Java Rice bird. All greys and whites look exactly alike. The pieds’ markings are distinctive, so you might be able to distinguish two individuals, but these markings don’t point to a difference in gender. Many authors note that the beak of the male may be broader and brighter colored than the hen’s. I have not found this to be true.
Standard parakeet leg bands, either split or seamless, may be used to identify the birds. When the babies first come out of the nest, they have brown feathers. In a couple of weeks the juvenile Temple Sparrows molt out into adult colors. If you don’t mark the young birds, after this first molt, you will not be able to tell the offspring from the parents, or from any other similarly colored Java Rice bird, for that matter.
Java Rice birds are serious pests of food crops in many parts of the world, as you might guess from their ease of reproduction and love of food! Because of this fact, the possession of Java Rice birds is either completely illegal or regulated in many parts of the United States. Be sure to check with your local Fish and Game office before buying or raising the Temple Sparrow.