Cordon Bleu Finches
There are three main varieties of cordon blue finches - the red cheeked cordon bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus), the blue breasted cordon bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis), and the blue capped cordon bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephala). All three species are commonly referred to as waxbills. Photos of each species follow below:
Red Cheeked Cordon Bleu
Blue Breasted Cordon Bleu
Blue Capped Cordon Bleu
As you can see in the photos all three species of cordon bleus are brightly colored birds. In fact, the cordon bleu finches (or waxbills) are among the prettiest of all of the finch species.
All three cordon bleu species originate from Africa and must be kept at a minimum temperature of around 68-70 °F (20-21 °C).
The males of all of the cordon bleu finches are more brightly colored than the females. For example, in the red cheeked cordon bleu, the female is missing the red cheek patches. In all of the cordon bleus the colors of the female are less bright and are sometimes more brownish than the male.
They reach an adult size of about 4-5 inches (10-12.7 cm).
All cordon bleus are social birds and can be kept with other peaceful finch species, except possibly at breeding time when males may become aggressive toward one another.
Cordon bleu finches are perch sleepers - meaning that they like to sleep on a perch instead of in a nest like some finch species (e.g, society, zebra, owl finches).
Their diet consists of standard finch fare, mealworms, sprouted seeds, and egg food. Their cage requirements are the same as for other finch species (please see the article: Keeping and Caring for Small Finches).
To hear the song of the blue capped cordon blue as well as to watch some of its courtship behaviors please watch the You Tube video below.
If you have a mating pair they will require a nest box and nesting materials (dried grasses, coconut fibers) and they will lay between 4-6 eggs, which hatch in about 13-14 days.
Breeding and successfully raising cordon bleu babies isn't easy however. If their nest is disturbed or if the right food isn't available they will often abandon the eggs or toss the chicks out of the nest.
Some people have success with transferring the cordon bleu eggs into a society finch nest and letting the society finches feed the cordon bleu hatchlings. However, this method of fostering the eggs out to another finch species is often met with limited success.
One woman and her daughter decided to hand raise a cordon blue chick and was able to successfully raise the cordon bleu young and other finches. Click here to read their story and find out how they did it. As an added bonus to handraising your cordon bleus, they will be much tamer than birds raised by their parents or those fostered by another finch species.
If you'd like to see what cordon bleu eggs and chick development looks like then please visit Blue Capped Cordon Bleu Waxbill Chick Development.