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Crested Canary :


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Family: Fringillidae

Canary Species :  1  >  2  >  3  >  4  >  5  >  6  >  7  >  8  >  9  >  10  >  11  >  12  >  13  >  14 

Crested Canary :


Crested Canary Stats

Scientific Name:  Serinus canaria domesticus
Size:  4.5 inches
Native Region:  Scotland
Life Expectancy:  Up to 10 years
Noise Level:  Quiet
Talk/Trick Ability:  Canaries are kept for their singing ability and antics.


Crested Canary Species Profile:


Traits:  The crested canary is a "type canary," meaning it is bred for its physical characteristics (particularly its crest) rather than its color or song. It is one of several canary varieties with a tuft of feathers around the top of its head. Others include the Gloster canary, the crested Stafford canary, the crested Norwich canary and the crested Lancashire canary. The crested canary was developed in the 1800s and is one of the oldest varieties of canaries. The crested canary comes in two varieties: crested and smooth (plain) headed. Their coloring can be yellow, white, brown, grey and green.


The crested canary, originally called the turncoat, is a social, easy-going bird that enjoys singing and being active. This bird has a broad deep body, a short stout neck, and a lot more feathers than many other types of canaries. Crested canaries are relatively hardy and do well with ample room in a cage or aviary.


Behavior/Health Concerns:  The crested canary does well in either cages or aviaries. They are on the timid side and should not be housed together with parakeets, lovebirds or other parrots that tend to be more aggressive. Males should be kept separately to ensure quality singing. They like to bathe daily and should be given water to do so. Their environment should not be wet, cool or drafty, and if they are given space to sunbathe, they should also have a shaded area to protect from too much sun. Keep perches clean to avoid any foot problems.

The Crested Canary, originally known as the "Turncrown", is one of the oldest canary breeds still in existence!

Today's Crested Canary has had quite a volatile history due to both a fluctuation in its popularity and to the development of other crested varieties. The Crested was perhaps the most popular canary in the late 1800's and was described as the "King of the Fancy". As a consequence of its popularity it became one of the most expensive, eventually being kept only by the very wealthy.


Being out priced from the common class its popularity began to steadily and continually drop. About this same time a variety of other canaries were also being developed that carried a crest. Today the number of Crested Canaries, though the dedication of the Crested Canary Club and the Older Varieties Canary Association, is again on the increase.


The Crested Canary is a "type canary", bred for physical characteristics rather than color or song. It is one of several canary varieties that has a tuft of feathers around the top of its head. Others include the popular Gloster Canary, the crested Stafford Canary, the crested Norwich Canary, and the crested Lancashire Canary. 

For more information about the care of Canaries see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Canary

Scientific Name : Serinus canaria domesticus





Research indicates that the Crested Canary was developed in about the 1800's and is one of the oldest canary varieties. Originally called the "Turncoat', it wasn't until about 1880 that it was dubbed the Crested Canary. At about the same time several other canary varieties with crests arose, including the Hartz Canary, the Mechelse Waterslager Canary, and the Sakser Canary. Also at this time breeders in England, seeking to enlarge the crest, began to develop a crested Lancashire and a crested Norwich. The Gloster Canary, developed later in the mid 1920's, also owes part of its heritage to the Crested Canary.



 As its name suggests, the Crested Canary has a tuft of feathers around the top of its head. It has a broad deep body, a short stout neck, and a lot more feathers than many of the other breeds. This feathering is essential for the forming of a good strong crest, which is the main feature of this bird. 
   There are actually two versions of this canary, the 'Crest' which has the tuft of feathers, and the 'Crest Bred' which has a plain head. As with all crested birds, it is important to pair a Crest with a Crest Bred as other pairings could create a lethal factor


Care and feeding:



Canaries like wide open spaces so provide a roomy cage. Provide a cage with vertical bars and small perches of different size for foot exercise. Have at least 1 perch set high in the cage for the canary to roost (sleep). The cage should be placed high, so the canary can look down on us so to speak.


 Canaries eat mainly canary seed and rape seed. Vitamin coated canary seed mixes are readily available at a pet store. Greens are also enjoyed and can be offered daily along with a little calcium in the form of a cuttlebone.

   They do like to bath, so should be offered a bird bath. Cage cleaning and toe nail trimming is about all the maintenance canaries need.


See About Canaries: Housing and About Canaries: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:


They are good-natured social creatures that do well when kept in cages or in aviaries. They are timid birds though and should not be housed with parakeets, lovebirds, or other hookbills that tend to be more aggressive birds by nature.


Male canaries should be kept in a cage by themselves to ensure quality singing. Males can be territorial and pairing up with two male canaries in a cage can cause fights. In a spacious aviary canaries can generally be housed with other canaries, finches, and other hardbills.




Canaries do not require toys, mirrors or any other form of entertainment, a swing is all they need to keep themselves occupied. Most of the time, canaries are simply enjoyed for their beauty and singing. However, some canaries are allowed out of their cage to perch or are show canaries and therefore require taming or training.


 See About Canaries: Handling/Training for information on taming and training.




 Canaries breed easily and readily if provided with quality food, lighting, secure surroundings, and conditioning. They are best bred in breeding cages.


Breeding the Crested Canary is no different than breeding colorbreds or any other variety of canary... with one exception, Cresteds should only be bred Crest to Crest Bred (see description above). Other pairings could create a lethal factor and poor crests.


They lay their eggs in a nest. The female will lay 3 to 6 eggs, one per day. Breeding season is usually from December to April; it is best to allow a hen to have only two clutches.


 See About Canaries: Breeding/Reproduction for more information on breeding.



Potential Problems:


 These birds are hardy and healthy if provided with a good environment and a good diet. Avoid an environment that is wet, cool, and drafty.


  See About Canaries: Potential Problems for information on health.



Crested Canaries have been fairly rare, though with their numbers on the rise, they are becoming more available. They are most often available through breeders, but may also occasionally be found through bird shows, bird clubs, and on the internet.

Crested canary singing 2

Canari crest an 2013


Crested Canaries :


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The Crested Canary is a "type canary" that is bred for physical characteristics, particularly its crest, rather than color or song. It is one of canary varieties that have a tuft of feathers around the top of its heads. Other crested varieties include the gloster canary, lancashire canary, stafford canary and norwich canary.



The crested canary experienced strong fluctuation in its popularity. In th 1800s, this canary was described as the "King of the Fancy" and was a priced (and expensive) possession that could only be afforded by the wealthy. In its heyday, the aim of all breeders was to produce either clear-bodied yellow canaries with dark crests, or evenly wing-marked birds with dark crests. In their quest to reach this goal, breeders were willing to pay steep prices for their breeding stock, which was one of the reasons why the prices of the crested canary sky-rocketed. It was priced out of the reach of general population and their numbers decreased.


Today, the crested canary comes in a multitude of colors and is readily available and appreciated for both its fun looks and great personality. In fact, its popularity is at an all-time high.


  • Should you consider purchasing a canary, please contact the Singing Wings Aviary -- breeder and connoisseur of this and other canary breeds.




Crested Canaries should always be mated to Plainheads.


The gene that causes the crested mutation is dominant, but 


a double dose is lethal. When one gene is inherited, the bird is crested. If two genes are inherited, then the bird's skull is deformed and the chick usually dies in shell.


From the results below it can be seen that you will not get any more live crested chicks by breeding crested to crested, therefore this is not recommended.


Possible Pairings:


  • Plainhead × Plainhead will produce 100% Plainhead young.

  • Plainhead × Crested will produce 50% Plainhead and 50% Crested young.

  • Crested × Crested will produce 25% Plainhead, 50% Crested, and 25% dead, NOT RECOMMENDED!

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