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


Canary, properly the Canary-bird, a very common cage-bird, with great power of song. The original stock is a greenish-olive siskin-like finch (Serinus canaria), a native of the Canary Isles. This species, numbers of which were brought to Europe some 300 years ago, has the general habits of a finch, is a poor songster, and, like its European congener, the Serin (q.v.), prefers to build in the neighbourhood of farms and houses. It produces from two to four broods in the year, a practice continued by the domestic race. The brilliant coloration is due to careful selection in breeding, as is also the great variety of form. Ten well-marked varieties are recognised - the Norwich, the Cinnamon, the London Fancy, the Lizard, the Belgian, the Scotch Fancy, the Yorkshire, the Crested, the Green, and the German - and each of these varieties runs into several classes. Canaries are extensively bred for sale in the city of Norwich, in the midlands, and in Lancashire and Yorkshire; but Germany is probably the chief seat of this industry, and the best songsters are undoubtedly trained there. Some of these birds have a compass of four octaves, and will execute various shakes in perfect style. A few have been taught to articulate words; one of the best authenticated cases is recorded in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society. 1858 (p. 231). Canaries breed readily in confinement, and produce hybrids freely with other finches.