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This page is about the wild bird. See Domestic Canary for the cagebird.
Conservation status: Least concern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Serinus
Species: S. canaria
Binomial name
Serinus canaria
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Canary (Serinus canaria) sometimes called the Island Canary, Tame Canary or Atlantic Canary, is a small bird in the finch family. It is native to the Azores, the Canary Islands, and Madeira.[1][2][3][4]

It is 12.5 cm long, with a wingspan of 20-23 cm and a weight of 15-20 g. It is yellow-green, with brownish streaking on its back. It is about 10% larger, longer and less contrasted than its relative the Serin, and has more grey and brown in its plumage and relatively shorter wings. The song is a silvery twittering similar to the songs of the Serin and Citril Finch.[2][4]

Its habitat is semi-open areas such as orchards and copses, where it nests in shrubs or trees, from sea level up to 1,700 m altitude.[2][4][3][5]

  • Azores: 30,000-60,000 pairs.
  • Canary Islands: 80,000-90,000 pairs.
  • Madeira: 4,000-5,000 pairs.

The bird is named after the Canary Islands, not the other way around, derived from the Latin name canariae insulae ("islands of dogs") used by Arnobius, referring to the large dogs kept by the inhabitants of the islands.[6] The colour canary yellow is in turn named after the yellow Domestic Canary.


This species is often kept as a pet; see Domestic Canary for details. Birds have escaped from captivity and have established feral populations on Bermuda, Midway Atoll in Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.[2]


  1. BirdLife International (2004). Serinus canaria. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Clement, P., Harris, A., & and Davis, J. (1993). Finches and Sparrows. Helm ISBN 0-7136-8017-2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hagemeijer, W., & Blair, M. J. (1997). The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds. T & A D Poyser. ISBN 0-85661-091-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Snow, D. W. & Perrins, C. M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic concise ed. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
  5. Madeira birds: Canary
  6. Oxford English Dictionary

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