Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cage-birds, a comprehensive term for birds kept in cages or aviaries for their power of song, or talking, or for the beauty of their plumage. The practice of keeping cage-birds is of high antiquity. Frequent references thereto occur in Oriental legend, notably in the Arabian Nights; and it is recorded that Alexander the Great kept a parakeet (Palaeornis torquatus). The principal British cage-birds are the blackbird, blackcap, bullfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, lark, linnet, nightingale, redpoll, siskin, starling, and thrush. Doves are sometimes kept, but their monotonous cooing renders them undesirable chamber birds, and the magpie and jay are oftener seen caged in the country than in town (though at the time of writing there is a fine male jay in a cage outside a shop in a small street in London). The jackdaw and raven, though often kept as pets, generally enjoy too much liberty to come under this denomination. The most important foreign cage-birds are those of the parrot family; then come the canary - which breeds so readily in domestication as to have little claim to be considered foreign; the generally brilliant-plumaged Oriental finches, for which the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris is so famous; the crossbill, the minah, the orioles, etc. For a description of all these the reader is referred to their popular names. Little can be said here as to the treatment of cage-birds. For information on this subject reference must be made to special treatises. It should, however, be borne in mind that overfeeding is as bad for birds as for their masters; and that more pets die from too much attention than from too little.