Animal Spotlights:- The Crested Canary

crested canary sat on a perch


Species Overview
Scientific Name
Origin and History
Pros & Cons
Speech and Vocalisations
Crested Canary Colours & Markings
Breeding Advice
Care Advice
How To Buy / Adopt

Species Overview

The crested canary, also known as the crested roller, is a small songbird that belongs to the finch family. It is a popular pet bird that is admired for its unique appearance and pleasant singing voice. The crested canary is a domesticated breed of the wild canary and has been bred in captivity for over 500 years.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of the crested canary is Serinus canaria domesticus. It is a subspecies of the wild canary, which is also known as the Atlantic canary or island canary. The crested canary was first bred in captivity in the 17th century in Italy, where it gained popularity among bird enthusiasts.


The crested canary is commonly known as the crested roller due to its distinctive feather crest on its head. It is also sometimes referred to as the crested canary roller, crested canary bird, or simply the crested canary. These nicknames reflect the bird’s unique appearance and popularity as a pet.

Origin and History

The crested canary is a domesticated breed that originated in Europe in the 17th century. It was first bred in captivity in Italy by crossing the wild canary with the red siskin, a small finch from South America. The resulting offspring had a unique crest of feathers on their head, which became a desirable trait among bird enthusiasts.

Over time, the crested canary was further developed through selective breeding, resulting in a wide variety of colors and patterns. By the 18th century, crested canaries had become popular pets throughout Europe and were often kept by aristocrats and royalty.

In the 19th century, crested canaries were imported to England, where they became increasingly popular among bird fanciers. They were exhibited in bird shows and competitions, which helped to further popularize the breed.

Today, crested canaries are still bred and kept as pets around the world. They are known for their unique appearance and pleasant singing voice, making them a popular choice for bird enthusiasts.

crested canary face on


Crested canaries are known for their gentle and docile nature, making them great pets for bird lovers of all ages. They are sociable birds that enjoy interacting with their owners and other birds.

They are not particularly active birds and do not require a large amount of space, making them ideal for people who live in apartments or smaller homes. Crested canaries are generally peaceful and get along well with other birds, as long as they are introduced properly and have enough space.

Crested canaries are also known for their pleasant singing voice. They have a melodious song that is not as loud or piercing as some other bird species, making them a great choice for people who want a bird that can provide pleasant background noise without being overwhelming.

Overall, the crested canary is a friendly and easy-to-care-for pet that can provide years of companionship and enjoyment for bird enthusiasts.

Pros & Cons

Deciding to add a pet to your family is a big decision, and it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of different pet options before making a choice. If you’re considering a crested canary as a potential pet, it’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of owning one.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a table summarizing the pros and cons of owning a crested canary. Keep reading to learn more!

Overall, the crested canary makes a great pet for bird lovers who are willing to provide the necessary care and attention. While they do require daily care and attention, they are generally easy to care for and can provide years of companionship and enjoyment.

Docile and gentle natureRequires daily care and attention
Sociable and enjoys interacting with peopleCan be prone to obesity if overfed
Gets along well with other birdsCan be messy and require frequent cleaning
Melodious singing voiceMay require regular grooming to maintain crest
Small size and doesn’t require much spaceMay develop health problems if not cared for

Speech and Vocalisations

Crested canaries are primarily known for their pleasant singing voice, which is a result of centuries of selective breeding. While they are not capable of mimicking human speech like some other bird species, they have a melodious and varied song that can provide pleasant background noise in a home.

Male crested canaries are generally more vocal than females and will often sing to attract a mate or defend their territory. They have a unique song that is made up of a variety of trills, whistles, and warbles, which can vary depending on the individual bird.

In addition to their singing voice, crested canaries also make a variety of other vocalizations to communicate with other birds and humans. They may chirp or tweet when they are happy or excited, and may make alarm calls or scolding noises if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Overall, crested canaries are not known for their ability to mimic human speech, but their pleasant singing voice and varied vocalizations make them a popular choice for bird enthusiasts who enjoy the sound of birdsong.

Crested Canary Colours & Markings

The crested canary is known for its unique appearance, which is characterised by a distinctive crest of feathers on its head. In addition to this feature, crested canaries come in a wide variety of colours and patterns, which can vary depending on the individual bird.

Here are some of the most common colours and markings found in crested canaries:

  • Yellow: This is one of the most common colours found in crested canaries. Yellow canaries can range from pale lemon yellow to deep golden yellow.
  • White: White crested canaries have pure white feathers, which can be a striking contrast to their black or brown eyes.
  • Variegated: Variegated crested canaries have a combination of yellow, white, and brown feathers, often in a speckled or mottled pattern.
  • Red: Red crested canaries have bright red feathers, which can range from a deep burgundy colour to a bright orange-red.
  • Blue: Blue crested canaries have soft blue feathers, which can range from a pale sky blue to a deeper, more vibrant blue.
  • In addition to these basic colours, crested canaries can also have a variety of markings and patterns, including:
  • Crest markings: The feathers on the crested canary’s head can be a different colour or pattern than the rest of its body, creating a unique and eye-catching appearance.
  • Spots and patches: Some crested canaries have spots or patches of a different colour on their feathers, which can create a distinctive look.
  • Pied: Pied crested canaries have patches of white feathers mixed with their primary colour.
  • Opaline: Opaline crested canaries have a unique feather pattern that gives their feathers a shimmery, iridescent appearance.

There are also several different breeds of canary that have a crested variety, each with their own unique appearance. These include the Gloster canary, the Lancashire canary, and the Norwich canary, among others. Each of these breeds has its own standard of colour and markings, creating a wide variety of options for bird enthusiasts looking for a crested canary with a specific look.

Breeding Advice

Breeding crested canaries can be a rewarding experience for bird enthusiasts, but it’s important to take certain factors into consideration to ensure the health and wellbeing of the birds. Here are some tips for breeding crested canaries:

  1. Choose healthy birds: Before breeding crested canaries, it’s important to make sure that both the male and female birds are healthy and free of any genetic or health issues. This can help to ensure the health and vitality of the offspring.
  2. Provide a suitable breeding environment: Crested canaries should be provided with a spacious and comfortable breeding cage that is outfitted with nesting materials such as coconut fiber or shredded paper. The cage should be placed in a quiet area of the home where the birds will not be disturbed.
  3. Pair compatible birds: When breeding crested canaries, it’s important to pair birds that are compatible and have a similar temperament. Birds that are too aggressive or dominant may not breed successfully, while birds that are too shy or timid may not produce viable offspring.
  4. Monitor breeding activity: Once the birds have been paired, it’s important to monitor their breeding activity to ensure that they are mating successfully. Signs that the birds are mating can include courtship displays, singing, and the male feeding the female.
  5. Provide proper nutrition: During the breeding process, it’s important to provide crested canaries with a diet that is high in protein and calcium to support egg production and chick development.

Possible Pairings:

When breeding crested canaries, there are a variety of possible pairings that can produce healthy and attractive offspring. Here are some possible pairings:

  • Yellow crested canary x yellow crested canary
  • White crested canary x white crested canary
  • Variegated crested canary x variegated crested canary
  • Red crested canary x red crested canary
  • Blue crested canary x blue crested canary

When breeding for specific colours or markings, it’s important to keep in mind the genetics of the parent birds and the likelihood of producing offspring with the desired traits. This can involve careful selection and pairing of birds, as well as knowledge of basic genetics principles. It’s important to do research and consult with experienced breeders before attempting to breed crested canaries.

yellow crested canary on a perch

Care Advice

Diet Recommendations:

A balanced diet is essential for the health and wellbeing of crested canaries. Here are some additional diet recommendations:

Offer a variety of foods: In addition to a good quality commercial seed mix, crested canaries should be offered a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. This can include leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as fruits such as apples, pears, and berries.

Limit seed intake: While seeds are an important part of a crested canary’s diet, they should be given in moderation. Seeds are high in fat and can lead to obesity if the bird is overfed.

Provide a source of calcium: Calcium is essential for the health of crested canaries, particularly during breeding season. Offering cuttlebone or a mineral block can provide a source of calcium for the bird.

Avoid sugary or fatty foods: Foods that are high in sugar or fat should be avoided, as they can lead to obesity and other health problems. This includes foods such as chocolate, candy, and fatty meats.

Exercise Recommendations:

While crested canaries are not particularly active birds, they still require exercise to maintain their health and wellbeing. Here are some additional exercise recommendations:

Provide a spacious cage: The cage should be large enough to allow the bird to move around freely and exercise its wings. A cage that is too small can lead to health problems such as obesity and muscle atrophy.

Offer a variety of perches: Providing a variety of perches of different sizes and textures can help to exercise the bird’s feet and prevent foot problems such as bumblefoot.

Provide toys and mental stimulation: Offering toys and other forms of mental stimulation can help to prevent boredom and encourage the bird to exercise.

Common Illnesses:

While crested canaries are generally healthy birds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Here are some additional common illnesses to watch out for:

Respiratory infections: Respiratory infections are a common problem in crested canaries, particularly if they are housed in a damp or poorly ventilated environment. Signs of respiratory infection can include wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Feather plucking: Some crested canaries may develop a habit of feather plucking, which can be a sign of stress or boredom. It’s important to identify the cause of the behaviour and address it accordingly.

Egg-binding: Female crested canaries may sometimes have difficulty laying eggs, which can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Signs of egg-binding can include lethargy, loss of appetite, and straining to lay an egg.

Obesity: As previously mentioned, crested canaries can be prone to obesity if they are overfed or do not get enough exercise. Obesity can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease and fatty liver.

It’s important to monitor your crested canary’s health regularly and seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of illness or distress. With proper care and attention, crested canaries can live long and healthy lives as beloved pets.

How To Buy / Adopt

If you’re interested in adding a crested canary to your home, there are several options for acquiring one. Here are some ways to buy or adopt a crested canary:

Breeders: One option is to purchase a crested canary from a breeder. Breeders can provide information about the bird’s pedigree and health history, and may be able to offer guidance on care and feeding.

Pet stores: Some pet stores may carry crested canaries, although it’s important to research the store and the conditions in which the birds are kept before making a purchase.

Bird shows: Attending a bird show can be a great way to meet breeders and see a variety of crested canaries in person.

Online classifieds: Another option is to search online classifieds such as,, and Preloved for crested canaries that are available for sale or adoption. These websites can provide a wide range of options for finding a crested canary that fits your preferences and budget.

When buying or adopting a crested canary, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure that the bird is healthy and well-cared for. Here are some tips:

Research the seller: Whether you’re buying from a breeder or adopting from a rescue or shelter, it’s important to research the seller and ensure that they have a good reputation and track record of providing healthy birds.

Ask for health information: Before making a purchase, ask the seller for information about the bird’s health history and any veterinary care it has received.

Inspect the bird: When meeting the bird in person, take the time to inspect it for signs of illness or injury. Look for healthy feathers, clear eyes, and alert behaviour.

Consider the bird’s needs: Make sure that you have the time, resources, and knowledge to provide proper care for a crested canary. These birds require a clean and spacious cage, a balanced diet, and regular exercise and socialization.

By taking the time to research your options and ensure that the bird you choose is healthy and well-cared for, you can enjoy the companionship and beauty of a crested canary for many years to come.


In conclusion, the crested canary is a fascinating and beautiful bird that makes a great pet for those with the time, resources, and knowledge to provide proper care. Whether you’re a seasoned bird owner or a first-time pet owner, the crested canary can provide companionship, entertainment, and beauty in your home.

As we have discussed, crested canaries come in a variety of colours and markings, have a distinct personality and vocalisation, and require a balanced diet, regular exercise, and socialisation to thrive. By following the tips and advice we have provided, you can ensure that your crested canary lives a healthy and happy life.

If you’re interested in adding a crested canary to your home, there are several options for acquiring one, such as breeders, pet stores, bird shows, and online classifieds. Remember to take precautions to ensure that the bird you choose is healthy and well-cared for.

We hope that this article has provided you with valuable information and insights into the world of crested canaries. With proper care and attention, these birds can bring joy and beauty to your life for many years to come.


Q: How long do crested canaries live?

A: Crested canaries, like other canary breeds, typically live for about 7 to 10 years. However, with proper care and nutrition, some crested canaries have been known to live for up to 15 years.

Q: Can you breed two crested canaries?

A: Yes, two crested canaries can be bred together. However, it’s important to note that breeding two crested canaries together increases the likelihood of producing offspring with genetic abnormalities or deformities, such as missing or malformed crests. Therefore, it’s recommended to breed a crested canary with a non-crested canary to reduce the risk of genetic issues. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the breeding pair is healthy and free of any genetic disorders before breeding.


“Crested Canary – Beauty of Birds.” Beauty of Birds, Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

“Crested Canary, crested canaries singing and breeding, Serinus canaria domesticus.” Animal World, Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

“Crested Canary – Beauty of Birds.” Beauty of Birds,,the%20top%20of%20its%20heads. Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

“Crested Canary: Appearance, Personality, Care, and Feeding.” Pet Keen, Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

“History of the Crested Canary – Crested Canary.” Crested Canary, Accessed 29 Apr. 2023.

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