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14 Types of Canary Bird Varieties

Nicole Cosgrove

There are several types of canary bird varieties available to buy as pets, each bred for the bird’s shape and size rather than their singing capabilities or colors. However, this is not to say that canaries are not beautiful or good singers, because they do have both those qualities. Canaries also make for great pets and do not require as much space or care as many other pets, like cats and dogs.

There are several different types of canary bird varieties. While they all look similar in shape and size, there are differences between each type of canary, which is why they all have unique names. Some have been around for a long time, while others are fairly new to the breeding world. Here are 14 types of canary bird varieties that you should know about.

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The Top 14 Canary Bird Varieties Are:

1. The American Singer Canary

This song canary is outgoing and friendly. Developed in the United States, the American Singer canary loves to sing and is extremely good at it. They are known for being melodic and interactive, which makes them a great pet for families with children. These birds come in a variety of colors, including white, blue, green, fawn, and yellow.


2. The Belgian Fancy Canary

Considered an old continental breed, the Belgian Fancy canary is a popular breed, with a long neck and slender body. They have compact wings and long, narrow tails. Their legs are slender and longer than many other types of canaries. These birds can be white, yellow, green, buff, or multicolored.


3. The Border Fancy Canary

The Border Fancy canary has been portrayed in many movies, books, and even cartoons. Bred just for their looks, these birds are either yellow or yellow with small white markings. In addition to being beautiful, this canary type is an exceptional singer. They love to sing and will create tunes on their own without any instigation from their human family members.


4. The Crested Canary

This type of canary is bred for their unique crest. They have a set of feathers on their head that hang downward, making them look like they have shaggy haircuts or wigs. They have been around for hundreds of years and are generally easy to breed. They can be just about any color, but their head crests are typically darker than the rest of their bodies.


5. The Fife Fancy Canary

The Fife Fancy canary is considered a beginner’s pet because it is outgoing, friendly, intelligent, and easy to care for. These birds are hardy and are not prone to disease, which means that they do not usually end up being financial burdens. They love to copy sounds that they hear in the environment and on television.


6. The Frilled Canary

Frilled canaries are unique because their feathers look frilly and unkempt. These little birds are known for being exceptionally melodic and friendly. These birds like to stand in a position that makes them look like the number 7.


7. The Gloster Canary

Gloster Canaries are similar to the Crested canary, but they are rarer and smaller in size. Their beaks stand out from their small heads, and most have crests like the Crested canary, which makes them look like they have a “Beatles” haircut. Their extra fluffy feathers almost look like fur.


8. The Harlequin Portuguese Canary

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Image Credit: Fernando Zamora Vega, Shutterstock

These are medium-sized canaries that hail from Portugal. They have long, elegant wings that join with their alert tails. Some have what look like three little horns protruding from their heads, while others have smooth, flat heads. Like most canaries, they come in many colors, such as white, pink, orange, grey, and multicolored.


9. The Lancashire Canary

These birds get to be about 8 inches in length when fully grown. They are longer than they are round, and they are larger than the average canary. The Lancashire canary is either white or yellow, and some have small crests, while others have “plain” heads. These birds need a large amount of protein to support their body growth during the molting season.


10. The Lizard Canary

This is one of the oldest canary breeds in existence, and in fact, their extinction almost came to fruition during the 1900s, when war and epidemics were ravaging the world. Their feather markings, reminiscent of lizards, give them their name. They grow to be about 5.5 inches long as adults and are usually dark in color and always multicolored.


11. The Norwich Canary 

Sometimes called the John Bull canary, this bird is medium in size and is considered a fragile animal. They are timid and shy compared to most other canaries, but they warm up to their human family members and will happily carry on a musical conversation with whoever is nearby. They can be green, yellow, or both!


12. The Scotch Fancy Canary

Also referred to as the Scottish or Glasgow Hen canary, this is not a popular breed in the canary kingdom, but some breeders work hard to keep their line alive. These birds can live to be 8 to 12 years old, and they get to be about 7 inches in length. They love having fruit as snacks and enjoy eating out of the hands of human family members. These birds most commonly come in the colors of white, green, and yellow.


13. The Stafford Canary

Believed to have been first developed sometime in the 1970s or 1980s, the Stafford Canary is newer to the canary world. They enjoy spending their time in their cage habitats rather than in a free space like the family’s living room, as they are quite timid and wary of commotion and loud noises. These birds usually do not need anything more than a safe place to sleep, food and water, and a swing to hang out on to thrive.


14. The Yorkshire Canary

Bred from the common canary and the Lancashire canary, the Yorkshire canary is known for its vigor and self-confident stance. They are about 6 inches long when fully grown and weigh about 3 ounces. They come in a few different colors: green, cinnamon, buff, yellow, and white. They like plenty of room and company from their humans and animal family members.

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In Conclusion

All these canary types are suitable pets for households of all types. Some should be isolated from rambunctious situations more than others, but they are all friendly and open to human interaction. Which type of canary variety are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments section!


Featured Image Credit: Terentieva Yulia, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.