If there was ever a meme-worthy bird, it is the Gloster canary.
The flat feathers on this bird’s head make it look like it has a bowl cut. This feature is even more striking amongst birds with different colored heads.
For instance, you can find some yellow-colored birds with brown “haircuts.”
Due to their unusual (and quite funny) appearance, this species has gained popularity over the years. But they still aren’t as popular as birds like budgies and parakeets.
Of course, you shouldn’t get a Gloster canary based on appearance alone. Consider whether you can meet their care needs before bringing one home. It is much easier to skip getting one than figuring out what to do with a bird you can’t care for.
Below, we’ll discuss this avian species’ care requirements and help you figure out if it is the best species for you.
Gloster Canary Species Overview
|Common Names:||Gloster canary|
|Scientific Name:||Serinus canaria domesticus|
|Adult Size:||4.75 inches max|
|Life Expectancy:||10-15 years|
Origin and History
As pets, these birds originate in Gloucester, England – hence their name.
But they are not found in the wild there. Instead, they were bred from a variety of other domesticated canaries. They’re a purely domestic species.
Initially, this breed was created in the 1920s. Its early history is a bit unclear.
By the early 1960s, the bird had been imported into the United States and slowly grew in popularity – primarily because of its beautiful singing abilities. They were especially popular amongst breeders and those who show birds.
In 1976, a Gloster canary won best-in-show, signifying their take over of the canary show ring. Today, it isn’t odd for most entries to be canaries – although they aren’t extremely popular as pet birds.
Temperament of the Gloster Canary
Gloster Canaries are designed to be left in a cage and listened to – not handled.
It isn’t that they are prone to biting; they are pretty delicate compared to other species. They aren’t a bird that can be left out to explore or perch on your shoulder for hours.
If you’re looking for a very interactable species, this isn’t it.
Gloster canaries tend to be shy. They are easily scared, which is one reason they prefer to stay in their home.
They are charming to watch. While they aren’t as active as some other species, they will spend plenty of time moving around the cage. They may even interact with their owner from the comfort of their cage, though not all of them are very receptive.
Their personality can vary quite a bit from bird to bird. Some are more interactive and friendly, while others prefer to be left alone. They are not hands-on pets by any means.
For the most part, they are territorial. Only one should be kept in a cage. Otherwise, dominant behavior can get out of hand. This situation can be rather unfortunate for the submissive bird.
Speech & Vocalizations
The canaries are well-known for their beautiful singing – it’s one of the reasons they’re so popular. The Gloster Canary is no different.
These birds do a lot of singing. Their voice is relatively similar to a whistle, which is very pleasant to the human ear. They don’t’ tend to do the beeps and squawks of other species.
With that said, male Gloster canaries are the ones that do most of the singing. The females don’t vocalize much, and neither do juveniles. If you want a bird that will make tons of vocalizations, then you need a mature male.
Gloster Canary Colors and Markings
There are two major types of canaries. Both types come in various colors, including yellow, brown, frost, white, and cinnamon. Their coloration can vary a lot due to selective breeding.
This species did not develop naturally in the wild. Instead, they were the result of extensive breeding in captivity. This led to many different colorations and markings. Nearly all of these birds look unique.
Their color variations do not have specific names, as there are so many of them. They are a bit like dogs in this instance.
The two main types are distinctive, though:
Caring for the Gloster Canary
Canaries are a somewhat social species, just like every other bird. They will need some interaction with their owners.
You can’t simply ignore these birds all day!
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to interact with them like other birds. They aren’t best for handling due to their timid nature. You’d like to scare them more than anything.
Instead, they appreciate interaction through their cage. Don’t plan on taking your Gloster Canary out much to handle them, but you should talk to them through their cage.
Overall, they do need quite a bit less interaction than other pet birds. If you’re looking for a hands-off species, this one may be a solid option.
This species is quite territorial with others of their kind. Therefore, it is best to keep them in their aviary.
Like all birds, the Gloster canary needs some exercise. Because of their timid nature, you will need to house them in a decently sized aviary.
They will not enjoy exercising outside of their cage like many other bird species.
For this reason, they tend to take up more room than other birds. Their cage needs to be large enough for them to spend 99.9% of their time.
Common Health Problems
Gloster canneries are a healthy species. They have lived in captivity since the beginning of their existence, so they are very well adapted to it.
Because most health problems are less treatable in birds than other pets, prevention is essential to their overall health. Science just hasn’t caught up to the needs of pet birds as it has cats and dogs.
They should be kept away from drafts and protected from drastic temperature changes. These can cause severe respiratory problems – which all birds are prone to.
Canarypox can be transmitted through mosquitoes, but this only occurs in birds housed outside. (Unless, of course, you have a bunch of mosquitoes in your house!)
They may also get mites. All sorts of mites may infect these birds if given a chance. Luckily, these are more treatable than some of the other health problems Gloster canneries can develop. They can be very pesky and challenging to get rid of, though.
Most birds have to be treated more than once.
The proper conditions and diet are vital to keeping your bird healthy. In captivity, many canaries live to be about 14-years old if they are cared for properly.
Diet and Nutrition
Nutrition is a widespread problem with captive birds – sadly. Naturally, they would eat a wide variety of different foods. When in captivity, they often eat the same foods day in and day out.
Wild canaries eat a variety of different seeds for the most part. Seasonally, they may also consume fruits, berries, and insects.
Sadly, most commercial diets choose seeds that do not have much nutritional value. Canaries are also known to selectively eat from seed mixes, which can limit their nutrition even more. For the most part, seed-only diets found commercially are not nutritionally complete for canaries. This includes millet and “honey sticks.”
Instead, you should offer your bird a pelleted diet that is designed explicitly for canaries. These foods will contain all of the vitamins and nutrients your bird needs.
Your bird can be fed a small number of seeds, but pellets should make up 80% of its diet. The other 20% should preferably be made up of fruits and veggies.
Gloster canaries do need regular exercise – just like every bird species.
However, they are often too shy to feel comfortable outside of their cage. Some hand-raised birds may be delicate in a quiet area for a short period, but most will feel much more comfortable when left alone.
Therefore, it is not practical to take these birds outside of their cage to exercise – as other species often enjoy. Not only will they likely be scared, but most won’t exercise when they feel insecure.
Instead, they will require a giant aviary that they can meet their exercise needs in.
Often, canaries take up a bit more room than other birds for this reason. They need a flight cage that they can spend much of their time in. You can’t rely on regularly taking them out for exercise.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Gloster Canary
The canaries are usually widely available. However, specific species of canary can be hard to find – like the Gloster Canary.
In these cases, it is best to go through a breeder. While this species isn’t widespread, there are quite a few breeders around the world.
You should be able to find one close to you.
Because these birds only breed once a year, you’ll likely have to wait until slightly after the breeding season to adopt one. This could mean waiting over a year to receive a bird after you contact a breeder.
Due to their long lifespan, you can often find this species at bird rescues. But avian rescues are more challenging to come by than those aimed at traditional pets. It largely depends on your area.
Like all canaries, the Gloster Canary is well-known for its excellent singing voice. If you’re looking for a bird to fill your home with music, this may be the one for you.
However, they are also a very hands-off species. They aren’t as social as other birds. They require some interaction but aren’t suitable for regular handling.
Instead, they are more of a bird that you sit and watch – not one you cuddle with.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance bird, the Gloster canary may be a suitable option.
Featured Image Credit: Oleg Mayorov, Shutterstock