Sunday, April 15, 2018

The CANARY As a Pet - Varieties of CANARIES

Yellow-Fronted Canary
Photo  by Kanalu Chock 
Although the popular budgerigar is kept for its bright colours, some people would rather have a bird that can sing. The Canaries are beautiful songsters with attractive colours of yellow, golden, orange and silver. This article will take a quick look at the most popular varieties.

The Border Fancy Canary
A great bird for the beginner because it is hardy and will breed freely either in a breeding cage or in an aviary. It is a pretty bird with a small, delicately proportioned body and a well-rounded head. A common plumage colour is an attractive glossy yellow. The Border Fancy is a 'type' bred canary valued more for its physical appearance than it's song.

The Roller Canary
This canary is so called because of it's pleasant 'rolling' of a song which has been esteemed for hundreds of years. To learn the proper song, a first moult young Roller cock used to be placed in the company of an older cock Roller. Nowadays, song training is mostly done using recordings. A good cock Roller can perform a remarkable warbling 'tour' consisting of a Bell Roll, Water Roll etc. all done with closed beak with just it's throat moving in and out. It resembles a Border Canary in appearance although a little larger.

The Norwich Plainhead
Another 'type' bred canary, the Norwich Plainhead has a stocky, cobby body with a full round head and thick brows. The fluffy plumage is usually coloured a deep orange or red and to help get this rich red-orange colour, the birds can be fed raw carrot as part of their diet. Norwich canaries also come in white, cinnamon, clear or variegated colours and are can be either plain-head or crested. They are not as lively or agile as other canaries but can make quite a friendly pet bird.

The Yorkshire Canary
Perching upright like a proud guardsman the Yorkshire is a slim and shapely bird well over 6 inches long. Unlike the fluffy Norwich canary, this bird has short silky feathers giving it a tight appearance.

The Lizard Canary
This old breed of canary has a patterned plumage that looks a bit like the scales of a lizard. Each feather has a fine pale outer fringe caused by a gene which restricts melanin in the plumage. The overall effect is to give the canary an attractive spangled look especially in its first year of life. Lizard canaries are yellow and buff in colour but the terms gold and silver are used to describe them.

The Gloster Fancy Canary
This is a relatively recent breed and is smaller than the Border, although having a crest. A crested Gloster is known as a Corona and those without crests are known as Consorts. It is a small canary, very alert and an extremely quick mover and does not need a large cage. These characteristics and it's a pleasant song and rather an acute crest make it very popular as a pet and beginner's bird. A Corona must be paired with a Consort Gloster so the ensuing chicks will only have one copy of the mutant 'crested' gene. Chicks with a double copy of this gene will have thickened skulls and will not survive.

The Red Factor Canary
is a cross between a yellow ordinary canary and the Red Siskin from South America. The result is a canary with a striking plumage with colours from a very deep orange to red-bronze. These gorgeous and attractive colours are maintained by feeding a diet rich in beta-carotene. Small and lively, it is little wonder that it is popular and enjoyed by many people who find it an entertaining pet bird.

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