Canary, a small finch. It is found wild off northwestern Africa, in the Canary and Cape Verde islands, and in Madeira. The canary is kept as a cage bird for its fine song. Its plumage is green or greenish-yellow in its native home, but the domesticated canary usually has yellow plumage, due to selective breeding. Its four or five pale-blue eggs hatch in about 13 days. Several broods are raised each year. Canaries were introduced into Europe as cage birds in the 1500's. A noted variety of singers comes from the Harz Mountains, Germany.

The canaryThe canary is a small finch often kept as a cage bird.
Which Songbird Is Named for an Island?

The canary is named for the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa. At one time, canaries lived only on these islands. Today, however, people all over the world keep canaries as pets.

Wild and pet canaries don’t look the same. Wild canaries are usually green or olive in color. Pet canaries are usually bright yellow. Both kinds grow to be about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long.

Canaries are known to be fine singers. Wild canaries sing nicely, but pet canaries sing even more beautifully. The pet canaries most famous for their songs are raised in the Harz Mountains in Germany.

The bird will eat hemp seed, canary seed (the seed of a grass abundant in the Canary Islands), millet, poppy seed, bits of green lettuce, and prepared canary foods. Canaries live about 15 years.

Wild canary is another name for the goldfinch.

The canary is Serinus canarius of the finch family, Fringillidae.