Born exclusively from genetic mutations, the Japanese Sparrow is a pretty sparrow that can only be found in captivity. This domestic bird comes in many colors and its plumage can be curly or smooth. It is very appreciated for its robustness and breeding facilities. It is nevertheless fundamental to offer him an environment perfectly adapted to his needs so as not to shorten his longevity. Let’s discover who the Japanese Sparrow is and how to raise it in an aviary.
Japanese Sparrow: main characteristics
This domesticated variety of Capuchin domino (Lonchura striata) belongs to the family Estrildidae. The Japanese Sparrow (Lonchura striata var. domestica) is also a passerine (of the order Passeriformes). However, it is never found in the wild but always in captivity where it is raised in aviaries rather than in cages. We can therefore say that the Capuchin domino (also called Domino sparrow) is the wild version of the Japanese sparrow.
It is a variety that man created around 1700 by crossing different species and subspecies such as Large-mesh Checkerspot (Lonchura striata) and Long-tailed Domino (Lonchura acuticauda). It was introduced in Europe in 1860 and it will later become more and more popular all over the world. In terms of legislation, it is recognized under French law as a domestic animal provided that it comes from breeding.
The Japanese Sparrow measures in adulthood about ten centimeters long and weighs at most 18 to 20 grams. One distinguishes the male from the female only by his discreet song and when he parades near his beautiful by standing up and inflating his feathers to seduce her. Otherwise, there is no sexual dimorphism in these passerines. The life expectancy of the Japanese sparrow is 5 to 8 years.
It has a fairly short beak, very robust and some specimens have a single hoopoe or even a double hoopoe. There are variations in colors such as variegated, beaded, grey-beige, mocha, reddish-brown, black-eyed white, grey-brown, black-brown or albino white. Finally, some have perfectly smooth plumage while others have curly feathers either all over the body, only on the shoulders, or on the chest.
Japanese Sparrow: feeding
This passerine is a granivore. We can therefore give to his breeding of Japanese Sparrows seeds composing an exotic mixture marketed by pet shops and which is composed for example of moha, millet, canary grass and others. His diet must be well balanced in carbohydrates, lipids, and must contain all the nutrients his body needs. The breeder must therefore obtain a diet specifically developed for this species.
In complement of the seeds, one can give him pieces of fruit to fill his needs in vitamins (grape, banana, apple). The fruits must be renewed every day so that the birds always have fresh products at their disposal. Small stones are necessary as well as an egg paste as a supplement to its diet.
Japanese sparrow : reproduction
If you wish to reproduce a couple, it is better that all the conditions are met. This implies that the female is at least 1 year old and the male is at least 8 or 9 months old. After a well-behaved parade and mating, the female lays between 4 and 8 eggs, but it is not uncommon for her to lay even 10 or 11, and the couple can have up to 3 broods each year.
The incubation of the eggs lasts 15 to 17 days. The chicks are born naked. At the age of 3 weeks they leave the nest but continue to be fed by their parents for 15 days, after which it is recommended to separate the male from the female.
It should be noted that in aviaries, the Japanese Sparrow can act as a nurse by taking care of chicks from other parents.
Breeding practices of the Japanese Sparrow
This aviary must be of sufficient size, which implies a good height, a minimum depth (40 cm) and length (100 cm), which leaves all the possibility for the Japanese Sparrow to fly as it pleases. The aviary can be installed in an indoor or outdoor space, but in the latter case, it is fundamental that two of its sides are solid walls allowing the birds to be well protected from bad weather conditions.
The floor of the aviary should be covered with a fairly thick layer of absorbent litter made of e.g. beech wood, gravel, leaves, some sand and coconut fibre. The soiled parts should be removed daily. Moreover, for the Japanese Sparrow to evolve in a healthy environment, its breeder must clean the aviary and everything in it very regularly.
The aviary is equipped with a drinking and feeding trough as well as two or three small tubs for swimming. Make sure to replace the soiled water every day. As for the perches, they must be installed very high up. A nest containing coconut fibre should also be installed. Finally, it is recommended to decorate the aviary with small mirrors, bells, swings and one or two shrub-like potted plants.
The Japanese Sparrow is very sociable with various species of birds. It is easy to breed and is very endearing. It is also appreciated because it is not noisy. Children love it and the bird appreciates the closeness of humans, young and old. For its balance, it is highly preferable that it is not alone, especially since it likes to sleep in close contact with its aviary companions.