Domestic canary

Canario photo.jpg
A red factor canary
Scientific classification e
S. c. domestica
Trinomial name
Serinus canaria domestica

Serinus canarius domesticus[3] Linnaeus 1758, I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1861[4]

The domestic canary, often simply known as the canary (Serinus canaria forma domestica[5]), is a domesticated form of the wild canary, a small songbird in the finch family originating from the Macaronesian Islands (The Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands).

Canaries were first bred in captivity in the 17th century. They were brought over by Spanish sailors to Europe. This bird became expensive and fashionable to breed in courts of Spanish and English kings.[6][7] Monks started breeding them and only sold the males (which sing). This kept the birds in short supply and drove the price up. Eventually, Italians obtained hens and were able to breed the birds. This made them very popular, resulted in many breeds arising, and the birds being bred all over Europe.

The same occurred in England. First the birds were only owned by the rich, but eventually the local citizens started to breed them and, again, they became very popular. Many breeds arose through selective breeding, and they are still very popular today for their voices.

From the eighteenth up to twentieth centuries, canaries and finches were used in the UK, Canada and USA in the coal mining industry, to detect carbon monoxide. In the UK, this practice ceased in 1986.[8]

Typically, the domestic canary is kept as a popular cage and aviary bird. Given proper housing and care, a canary's lifespan ranges from 10 to 15 years.[9]


The birds are named after Spain's Canary Islands, which derive their name from the Latin Insula Canaria (after one of the larger islands, Gran Canaria), meaning "island of dogs", due to its "vast multitudes of dogs of very large size".[10][11]

A white canary nesting
A yellow canary perched in a tree
Other Languages
العربية: كناري منزلي
беларуская: Канарэйка
Boarisch: Kanari
Deutsch: Kanarienvogel
Ελληνικά: Καναρίνι
Esperanto: Hejma kanario
français: Canari
galego: Canario
ГӀалгӀай: Дошохьазилг
македонски: Домашен канаринец
Picard: Canàrin
shqip: Kanarina
sicilianu: Canariu
српски / srpski: Домаћи канаринац
svenska: Kanariefågel
Tiếng Việt: Chim yến hót