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serinus canarius domesticus

Canaries are well known for their beauty and varied colors. Male Canaries are loved for their sweet singing. Canaries do well when kept singly or in pairs.Includes Yellow Canaries and Red-Factor Canaries.


Canary Facts

Average Adult Size 3-4 inches long, head to end of tail
Average Life Span 10+ years with proper care
Diet omnivores

Bird owners should avoid non-stick cookware and appliances as they can release fumes hazardous to your bird's health.


A well-balanced Canary diet consists of:

  • Specialized pellets should make up 60-70% of diet; red-factor Canaries need specialized food to maintain color, fresh vegetables and fruit and moderate amounts of fortified seeds.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed birds avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.


Things to remember when feeding your Canary:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded.
  • Remember, treats should not exceed 10% of total food intake.


  • Canaries acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should be placed off the floor in an area that is well-lit and away from drafts.
  • A flight habitat approximately 18"W x 14"D x 18"H, with metal bars spaced no greater than 3/8" apart, makes a good home for one Canary. A flight habitat is strongly recommended. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible./
  • Perches should be at least 3" long and 1/ 4"- 1/2" in diameter; a variety of perch sizes to exercise feet and help prevent arthritis is recommended.
  • A metal grate over the droppings tray will keep the bird away from droppings; line the droppings tray with habitat paper or appropriate substrate for easier cleaning to avoid contamination, do not place food or water containers under perches.
  • Canaries can be kept with at least one other Canary, preferably more; do not house male Canaries together. Different types of birds should not be housed together.
  • Canaries should be socialized daily by the pet parent or kept in pairs to bond with each other.

Normal Behavior

  • Male Canaries are known for their singing; females chirp rather than sing.
  • They need room to fly in their habitat.
  • A male Canary kept in a habitat with mirrors may not sing.
  • Provide foraging toys, which provide important mental stimulation.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and perches regularly; replace substrate or habitat liner weekly or more often as needed.
  • Replace perches, dishes, and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.
  • Ensure that there are no habitat parts or toys with lead, zinc or lead-based paints or galvanized parts as these can cause serious medical issues if ingested by your bird.
  • Do not use a lot of cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful. It is recommended to use a natural cleaning product.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Provide filtered, chlorine-free, lukewarm water regularly for bathing; remove the water when done. As an alternative, mist the bird with water.
  • Nails should be trimmed by a qualified person to prevent injury to the bird.


Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active, alert, and sociable
  • Eats and drinks throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Beak, legs and feet normal in appearance
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red Flags

  • beak swelling or accumulations
  • fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
  • sitting on floor of habitat
  • wheezing or coughing
  • runny or discolored stools
  • favoring one foot
  • eye or nasal discharge
  • red or swollen eyes
  • loss of appetite

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Diarrhea Symptoms or Causes Fecal portion of stool not formed. Multiple causes, from change in diet to internal parasites. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and ensure correct diet.
Health Issue Lice or feather mites Symptoms or Causes Restlessness, scratching, feather picking. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and clean habitat.
Health Issue Mites(scaly face and leg disease) Symptoms or Causes White deposits on eyes, beak, legs, and feet. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian.
Health Issue Avian pox Symptoms or Causes Lesions in mouth, scabs on eyes and face. Suggested Action Isolate bird and consult your veterinarian.


Ask an associate about Petco's selection of books on Canaries and the variety of Petco Brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All Petco Brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all Canaries are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your Canary and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases. Work with your avian veterinarian on protocols to treat your bird should the bird contract Chlamydiosis.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for a Canary and should consider not having a Canary as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about Button Quail and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.