Canary birds are a beloved pet for their beauty, melodic singing, and ease of care. With so many varieties to choose from, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. To help you make an informed choice, here is a comprehensive overview of 13 canary breeds you should know about.
Canaries are a favorite among bird enthusiasts, and for good reason. Their captivating songs and beauty are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many unique and appealing qualities of these birds. Here are just a few of the standout features of canaries that make them a top choice for breeders and bird lovers alike
Canary birds are a highly sought after pet finch species for their unique traits and charming personality. Breeding for form, size, and shape is the primary focus for many breeders, but the color of their feathers and their songs also play a role in their popularity.
Three main categories of canaries exist: those bred for color, physical features or shape, and song. These birds have a fascinating history, originating from the Canary Islands located off the West African coast, and have since been introduced to places such as Morocco, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Whether it's their rich history, their striking appearance, or their melodious songs, canary birds continue to be one of the most beloved pet finches among bird enthusiasts.
Canaries are highly adaptable birds, capable of thriving in diverse habitats ranging from woodlands to mountains. Their remarkable ability to acclimate to various environments has made them popular among breeders for over 200 years.
As a result of selective breeding, various subspecies of canaries have emerged, with the most common being Serinus canaria domesticus. These pet birds have become a staple in households across the world, providing entertainment and joy to their owners with their distinctive songs and lively personalities.
Beautiful Canary Varieties
Canary birds are a result of centuries of selective breeding, producing a diverse range of sizes, shapes, and colors. From their soft, delicate white feathers to the bright, eye-catching orange and pink hues, breeders have created a spectrum of colors for these pet birds to showcase.
Perhaps the most well-known color of canary birds is their iconic yellow, a hue that has become synonymous with these birds and their melodious songs. If you're considering owning a canary, here's a list of several popular varieties you might be interested in:
The Atlantic Canary, scientifically known as Serinus canaria, is a charming bird that belongs to the Fringillidae family. Native to the Canary Islands, it is widely abundant in this region. This petite bird is quite similar in appearance to the European Serin, but what sets it apart is its remarkable song, producing what is known as "liquid" notes. No wonder the Atlantic Canary is the most sought after species of canary for pet owners who appreciate its melodic and harmonious voice.
The Atlantic Canary, scientifically known as Serinus canaria, is a member of the Fringillidae family and closely resembles the smaller European Serin. These birds are native to the Canary Islands and are widely found in the region. As a popular pet bird, the Atlantic Canary is easily recognizable for its distinctive physical features.
Measuring between 10cm to 12cm in length, with a wingspan between 21cm and 23.7cm, the males have a striking yellow-green coloration on their underparts and heads. The forehead, supercilium, and face are even more yellow, while the under tail-coverts and lower belly are white with dark streaks visible on the sides. The upperparts of the bird are also yellow-green, featuring several dark streaks, while the rump is dull yellow in a wild Atlantic canary. These unique physical characteristics, combined with the bird's melodious song, have made the Atlantic Canary one of the most sought-after pet birds in the world.
Females of the Atlantic Canary species possess a distinct physical appearance, with their heads and breast feathers exhibiting a greyer, duller hue compared to males and fewer yellow underparts. In contrast, juvenile individuals exhibit a brown plumage with scattered dark streaking.
Domestic varieties of the Atlantic Canary, bred for ornamental purposes, come in an array of colors, from plain yellow and orange to more unique hues such as grey, brown, and blue. Some domestic canaries possess curled feathers, adding to their ornamental appeal.
The Atlantic Canary primarily sustains itself on a diet consisting of insects and seeds, with their chicks primarily relying on a diet of insects. The birds construct their nests using materials such as straw, cobwebs, and moss.
The Atlantic Canary is a species recognized for its distinct visual features, particularly its striking base coloration. The majority of individuals in this species showcase a yellow or white base hue, which is further intensified by the play of light. This causes the color to appear as a subtle tint, creating a mesmerizing illusion for the observer.
The unique appearance of the Atlantic Canary is largely due to the reflection of light on their feather hooklets. This interaction between light and the feather structure produces a captivating phenomenon, resulting in the appearance of additional colors such as purple and green tinges. This effect is commonly observed in species such as starlings and magpies, and is unique to the Atlantic Canary.
In individuals with a yellow base color, the resulting hue is often green, while in white canaries, the effect produces a bluish-grey appearance, earning them the name Blue Factor Canary. This interplay between light, feather structure, and coloration creates a truly exceptional and exclusive visual experience.
The Border Fancy Canary is prized for its compact size, with an ideal length of 14 cm. These birds boast a round body shape with a glossy plumage, contributing to their charming appearance. The selectively bred English and Scottish varieties of this species have a distinctive upright posture, standing at an angle of 60 degrees.
The feathers of the Border Fancy Canary are characterized by their smooth, glossy texture, and the plumage of these birds is primarily yellow, although they may also be found in a range of colors including buff green, white, and cinnamon, which can be either ticked or variegated.
Border Fancy Canaries are known for their lively and animated demeanor, and they are celebrated for their melodious and varied song. Their song is often mistaken for that of Gloster Canaries, but it can be easily distinguished by its distinctive, more intense "chopper-like" quality.
These birds have their origins in the North-England and South-Scotland region, hence their name Border Fancy Canaries. Their unique combination of compact size, charming appearance, and melodious song make them highly sought after among bird enthusiasts.
The Cinnamon Canary, originally considered a separate variety in England, was crossbred with several other canary breeds including Yorkshire, Norwich, and Border Canaries in the early 1900s to enhance the prominence of its cinnamon color. While these breeds did not initially possess the desired level of color intensity, the resulting Cinnamon Canary displays a rich palette of colors, including buff, yellow, and a distinctive red-brown hue with tones of pink and soft browns.
The ideal color of the Cinnamon Canary is a dark, radiant red-brown, making it highly sought after among pet owners. The fine quality of its plumage is one of the primary reasons why the Cinnamon Canary is considered a valuable and rare breed. Many bird enthusiasts believe that this variety possesses the smoothest and finest feathers of all canary breeds.
Whether admired for its unique coloration or prized for its silky plumage, the Cinnamon Canary is an exceptional bird that continues to captivate avian enthusiasts to this day.
Crested Canaries are prized for their unique and eye-catching physical attributes, particularly the crest of feathers on their heads that sets them apart from other Canary breeds. Historically, their popularity among the wealthy led to high demand and a decline in their numbers. However, today they are widely available in various colors and have gained a reputation for their lively personalities and charming appearance. With a compact body shape, moderately long neck, and narrow, long tail in line with their backs, crested canaries stand up to 16cm tall and have a body length of around 17cm. Their broad, short heads, and prominent foreheads are also distinctive features of this breed, making them a favorite among pet owners and breeders alike.
Domestic canaries, also referred to simply as canaries, are the domesticated variety of the wild canary found in the Macaronesian Islands. They have a rich history, having been bred and raised in royal courts of Spain and England before spreading globally.
Domestic canaries come in different variations, including the Spanish Timbrado, German Roller, Waterslager, and Australian Plainhead, with a size ranging from 12 to 20 cm in length. They boast a colorful plumage with hues ranging from white, red, brown, black, yellow, and orange.
Their melodious voices are one of their most endearing traits, with different individuals producing trilled, rolling, soft, or loud songs. Their diet consists of grasses, fig seeds, weeds, and a variety of plant materials, along with small insects.
The Fife Fancy Canary is more than just a mere pet, it is a symbol of beauty and grace in the avian kingdom. This tiny treasure was meticulously crafted through selective breeding in the mid-20th century, specifically for its exceptional physical attributes. With its origins rooted in the Scottish town of Fife, the Fife Fancy Canary has earned its place as a true icon of ornithological splendor. Standing at a mere 11.4 cm in length, this bird boasts an impressive distinction as the smallest type of canary known to date. Its dainty size is complemented by its vibrant plumage, making it a sought-after companion for bird enthusiasts everywhere. The Fife Fancy Canary is a true masterpiece of avian breeding, a shining example of the beauty that can be found in nature.
The Gloster Canary, named after its birthplace of Gloucestershire, England, is a true gem of the avian world. Bred for the first time in the 19th century, it has become one of the most sought-after show birds among pet enthusiasts. The mid-1960s saw a surge in its popularity, owing to its distinctive arrangement of feathers that gives it a distinct beetle-like appearance.
Measuring a mere 12.1 cm in length, the Gloster Canary is a compact bird that combines traits from the Border, Hertz, and Crested Canaries. Its defining characteristic is the unique feather "wig" that crowns its head, earning it a place among the Coronas group of birds. Sadly, due to complex genetic factors and the risk of inbreeding, Coronas cannot be interbred. The Gloster Canary remains a marvel of avian breeding, a testament to the diversity and beauty of the avian kingdom.
The Green Canaries are a stunning addition to the world of show birds, earning their name due to their captivating appearance. These avian wonders boast a vibrant yellow base color, imbued with abundant melanin in their feathers. It is this melanin that gives them a unique green or black hue, not unlike the wild canaries of their species. This stunning interplay of color and pigmentation sets the Green Canaries apart from their avian counterparts, making them a sought-after treasure for bird enthusiasts everywhere. With their mesmerizing appearance and vibrant coloration, the Green Canaries are a true feast for the eyes, a testament to the diversity and beauty of the avian kingdom.
The Red Factor Canary is a true marvel of the avian world, part of the show birds group due to its striking red coloration. It is essentially the red variation of the Yellow Melanin canary, with a rich red base color and subtle traces of dark pigmentation. The interplay of red and dark hues creates a breathtaking visual spectacle, making the Red Factor Canary a highly sought-after bird among bird enthusiasts and collectors. The vibrant red plumage sets the Red Factor Canary apart from its yellow counterparts, lending it a unique and exclusive air. This bird is a true feast for the eyes, a testament to the incredible beauty and diversity of the avian kingdom.
The Scots Fancy Canary, also known as the Scotch Fancy Canary, Scottish Canary, The Bird 'o Circle, or Glasgow Don, is a true gem of the avian world. Distinguished by its long, tapered body, which creates a half-circle curve, this bird is a unique and fascinating creature. Originally developed in Glasgow, Scotland in the early 1800s, the Scots Fancy Canary nearly became extinct in the 1900s, but dedicated breeders have worked tirelessly to preserve this remarkable bird. Standing at a length of 18 cm or slightly more, the Scots Fancy Canary is a sizable bird, capable of producing beautiful and melodious songs. It's important to feed this bird a well-balanced diet, including high-quality canary seeds, dried egg food, millet spray, chopped fresh greens, and oregano.
Supplementing their diet with healthy greens and fruits such as apricots and apples provides essential minerals and vitamins, ensuring the Scots Fancy Canary stays healthy and vibrant.
The Swiss Frill Canary is a remarkable bird that boasts a distinctive appearance. Standing at 17 to 18 cm in length, it is a prime example of avian beauty. Its half-moon body shape is achieved with the help of its long, narrow tail, and its small oval-shaped head is graced by a slender neck.
This bird stands out among its canary counterparts with its lack of frills, instead opting for an array of feathers on its mantle. These feathers are long and straight, reaching over two-thirds of the bird's back, creating a stunning display.
Additionally, the feathers surrounding the crop area are arranged in the shape of a basket, giving the Swiss Frill Canary an unparalleled appearance. These features, combined with the separation of feathers from the side of the body, make the Swiss Frill Canary a unique and much sought after pet bird. This bird has its roots in Switzerland, making it an especially interesting addition to any bird enthusiast's collection.
The Yellow Canary, known for its distinctive coloration, is a prized species in the world of avian enthusiasts. Male Yellow Canaries are distinguishable by their bright yellow or yellow-green underparts and striking face patterns. Meanwhile, females of the species exhibit a drab gray-brown coloration with streaky underparts, yellow rumps, and yellowing edges on their wing feathers. Juveniles resemble female Yellow Canaries but exhibit heavier streaking.
This species is distinct from the Yellow-fronted Canary due to its lack of black facial markings and a lighter bill compared to other African canary species. With a length of approximately 12 cm, the Yellow Canary is a relatively large bird in the canary family.
When it comes to selecting the right canary for your pet collection, it is important to take into consideration various factors that make these birds unique. One of the most distinct features of canaries is their color, which ranges from bright yellow to olive green and even brown. This coloration can either be uniform or vary in different parts of the bird's body.
In addition to color, the size of the canary is another important factor to consider. Canaries vary in size from small birds like the Finch Canary to larger birds like the Giant Canary. The size of the bird will play a role in determining the amount of space required for its cage or aviary.
Physical features such as the shape of the body, the length of the tail, the texture of the feathers, and the presence of frills or plumes are other crucial factors to keep in mind. These physical features contribute to the overall appearance and beauty of the bird.
Last but not least, the song of the canary is another important factor to consider. Some canaries are known for their beautiful and melodious singing, while others are less vocal. For those who are interested in having a pet that sings, it's important to select a species that is known for its musical abilities.
Overall, when choosing the right canary, it is important to consider all of these factors in order to select a bird that is both visually appealing and enjoyable to live with. Whether you are looking for a colorful pet with a beautiful song, or simply want a bird with unique physical features, the world of canaries has something for everyone.