Animals / Birds

Domestic canary


Домашняя канарейка (ру.)

Canary (en.)

Kanarienvogel (de.)

Canario doméstico (es.)


Order — Passeriformes

Family — Fringillidae

Genus — Serinus

Species — Serinus canaria


All domestic canaries originated from the Island Canary and now are distributed throughout the world.

Внешний вид

Length: 10-20 cm.

Wingspan: 23 - 23 cm.

Weight: 12-30 g.

Underparts of the male island canary are a dull golden-yellow, with an olive hue on the chin, throat and breast.

Upperparts are grey with dark streaking.

Face is pale yelow.

Tail is dark brown with pale green around the edge, and is forked or notched.

Bill is pale pink.

Legs and feet are brown.

The female island canary is similar in appearance to the male, but is generally duller, with much more grey on the face and upperparts, and much heavier black streaking on the back and head.

The juvenile island canary is generally pale brown with dark streaking on the back and head, and has a dull, greenish-yellow forehead and brown tail. The underparts have some of the yellow colouration of the adult.



Canaries have very sweet personalities. They will not harm children, visitors, or other pets. Canaries generally are more territorial than social and will be happiest as a solitary bird. They should never be housed with larger, more aggressive birds such as cockatiels, parrots or lovebirds.


Fresh food and water must be provided daily. A canary cannot live for a 24-hour period without water! Fresh canary seed is their everyday food and vitamin coated seed mixes are readily available at a pet store. A single canary will eat about one teaspoon of seed a day and canaries will rarely overeat, though they may need to eat a bit more when the weather is cold or during molt. It is important to provide your canary with a variety of food, not just seed. Pelleted diets are also available and contain vitamins and more protein than seed, making additional supplementation unnecessary. However birds not raised on a pelleted diet may not recognize it as food, so may not accept it.

Daily supplements that canaries like to eat include greens such as kale, broccoli, dandelions, spinach, celery, peas, and watercress. Small amounts of fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, and melons can also be offered. About once a week offer an additional protein supplement such as egg biscuit. Every few days you can also provide some song food to help develop vocal cords. Canary treats of seed with honey, fruits and vegetables are fun for your bird too, as well as nutritious. Provide a cuttlebone or a mineral block, which will provide calcium and required nutrients for a strong beak and bones. The lime in the cuttlebone also aids in digestion. Grit is not necessary for canaries since they hull their seeds.


Canaries were previously used by miners as a warning system. Any sign of suffering from the bird pointed out that the mines were unsafe.

Apart from being used as model species in research for studying the learning mechanism, memory integration, and birth of neurons in vertebrate brain, the canaries are studied for understanding how songbirds create and encode songs.

When spring approaches, the hens exhibit more rounded abdomens, while the cocks have downward protruding and larger abdomen.


These birds have delicate respiratory systems, which make them vulnerable to toxic gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide. Cooking fumes, aerosol sprays (air freshener, polish, deodorants), and smoke from cigarettes are hazardous as well. Common illnesses likely to affect them include diarrhea, constipation, tumors, sore eyes, scaly legs, baldness, egg binding, heat stroke, and weight loss.


To breed canaries, buy the best pair that you can afford. Place them in a double breeder in the early spring with a wire divider in place. Offer top quality food, including increased supplies of soft food. Hang a nest pan with a felt liner glued in place on the female’s side. Offer commercial nesting material or soft, dry grass to the hen. When she begins to carry nesting material remove the wire divider. Remove the eggs that are laid and replace them with artificial ones. When the 4th egg is laid return the real eggs and remove the artificial ones. When the chicks hatch the supplies of canary rearing food (soft food) must be unlimited.

Both parents will feed the chicks. Once the chicks are ready to leave the nest provide a second nest pan. The hen will make a new nest while the cock finishes rearing the babies. As soon as you are sure that the babies are feeding themselves properly remove them to an aviary or large cage where they can exercise and develop properly. 

Authentication required

You must log in to post a comment.

Log in
There are no comments yet.