Canary Varieties

Many people that decide they want a canary are unaware that there are many different types of canary. When you think of a canary, you think of the typical little yellow singing bird. Right? That is what I think of. Chances are, your neighborhood pet store has more than just the standard yellow canary.

There are different colors to pick from, different feather type, different song type. Really, it can be quite overwhelming. It depends on what the owner of the pet store orders for the store, but you could see red canaries, fluffy canaries, or even multi-colored canaries. I have included a few things to know about the types of canaries out there.

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Canaries can be seperated into three groups. Type canaries, color canaries, and song canaries. The color canaries are bred for their coloring, the song canaries are bred for their singing abilities, and the type canaries are bred for their general appearance (the look of the feathers, the build of the body, length, etc).
Type canaries are fun to learn about. The process of selective breeding in captivity has produced some very interesting looks for certain canaries. There are many many different types, but I will only list a few here.

The Gibber Italicus is a canary that was bred to look incredibly odd. It is a very long canary. The neck is especially long. What is most intriguing, is the unnatural looking bend to the neck. The bird’s neck swoops downward, giving it a hunchback appearance. It looks uncomfortable to say the least.

One of my favorite canaries has to be the Gloster canary. It looks like a member of the band The Beatles. It has a mop of “hair” on it head. The hair is actually feathers, but the bird really does look like it is sporting a fancy hair-do. Glosters are rather small and come in many colors, including yellow, cinnamon, and green.

The largest canary that has been bred is the Yorkshire Canary. It is around 6 inches long, which is very large for a canary. Normally canaries are about 4 or 5 inches or so. The Yorkshire stands very tall and erect. It is especially thin looking. It is a thin bird, but it looks thinner due to its rigid stance. The lower portion of the bird is the smallest, while the chest and shoulders are nice and bulky looking, giving it a tough soldier-like appearance.

Song Canaries have been bred for their melodious voice. It really is relaxing to sit and listen to a bird (with a nice voice) sing a beautiful tune. The trills and chirps can be quite tranquil. I believe that is something that is enjoyed whether you are at the age of 5 or 95. There are two different types of song canaries separated based on the type of singing they do. There is the “chopper”, which sing loud, choppy notes with wide open beaks. Then there is the “roller”, which sings with a beak that is either closed or only very slightly open and the song is generally softer.

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The American Singer Canary was bred in America for its song as well as its appearance, making it a very popular pet. Not only does it have the lungs to make you stupendous music, it also has a gorgeous look about it. It is a cross between two specific canaries: the Border canary and the German Roller canary, giving it a sweet song of great rolling notes mixed with just the right amount of choppy notes. The volume the bird uses to sing is also something that is bred into the bird. This bird has a song that is neither too soft nor too loud. Perfect for an indoor pet.

The Spanish Timbrado Canary is very close to the wild canary genetically. The breeding of this bird was done by crossing wild canary birds with domestic ones. The song produced by the bird is particularly loud and has a metallic quality. The sound can be described as fuller and deeper.

Color canaries come in more colors than I had imagined was possible. I did know that canaries can come in a few colors other than standard yellow, such as brown or white, but I didn’t know there is almost no end to the colors that have come from selective breeding. Breeders have come out with canaries in shades of blue, white, orange, red, green, gray, and even canaries that have feathers that look like the scales of a lizard. My favorite has to be the Red Factor canary, a bird that is a rich vibrant shade of red.

Author: Arianna Pleitez