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A Look At Canaries & Finches

Finches and canaries are hardy, easy-to-care-for pet birds that will warm your heart with their chirps and their colors and size.

Diane Grindol

Canaries are known for their singing abilities.

Finches
Finches are hardy little birds that come in a variety of sizes and colors and are relatively easy to maintain. Like a canary, a finch is a good choice for an owner who does not want the consistent interaction that a parrot needs. Native to areas all over the world, the finch has a soft twitter and a few have distinct songs. They usually mature in 2 months, and can live anywhere between 10 to 15 years. Finches should never be housed alone as a finch on its own is not a happy one. Have at least two finches. (First check with an experienced finch breeder to see which species of finch are OK to house together.)

The hardiest finch is the zebra finch, which breeds readily (almost too readily) and makes a cute "beau” noise. The males and females are sexually dimorphic; the males have orange patches on their cheeks, and females don’t. In mutations, such as the white zebra finches, the patches can still be seen if examined properly.

Another popular finch is the society finch, which has a softer chatter than the zebra finches. Males even have a bit of a song that is often heard year round. Males and females are not sexually dimorphic, but these types of finches usually don’t breed unless nesting material is provided for them.

The most popular and beautiful finch is the Lady Gouldian finch. Coming in a variety of rainbow colors, these finches are quiet and make a great addition to any community cage of finches.

Canaries
Renowned for its singing ability, the canary is native to the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. A common misconception is that the canary is different from a finch; in truth, it is another species of finch. Cherished for both its song and its beauty, the canary is a popular pet for those who want a pretty song bird that doesn’t need the attention or maintenance compared to parrots.

Gouldain finches
Gouldian finches are great finch pets.

Originally mostly brown and yellow, the canary has been breed to come in a multitude and colors. The most popular canary is the American singer, which is a cross between a roller canary and a border fancy canary. Other popular canaries are the red-factor and the border fancy. Canaries can live up to 15 years with proper care and a good diet.

The male is the one that sings, usually during breeding season (around early spring). The female makes a soft "bweet” sound, similar to a finch. Canaries become sexually mature around a year old but, while capable of breeding, it can sometimes take a few seasons before a male and female can successfully raise a clutch. It isn’t recommended to house two males together (and especially with a female), so keep a canary with finches or other non-aggressive aviary birds in a large flight cage. Female canaries can safely be housed together.

Want to learn more about canaries and finches?

Canaries As Pets
Finches As Pet Birds


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Posted: April 29, 2014, 1:00 a.m. PDT

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