Louisiana, United States
California, United States
Species group: Canaries
Other name(s): Crest-bred Canary
AppearanceDetails: The Crested Canary is one of the oldest of the type canaries, that is, canaries that are bred to conform to a certain look instead of a special song. Birds that express the beautiful crest are called Crested Canaries, while birds that carry the gene for the crest but don't have a crest themselves, are more properly called the Crest-bred Canary. To produce strong babies, if one parent is a Crested Canary, the other parent should always be a smooth-headed Crest-bred Canary. There are other varieties of crested canaries available, so ask your breeder for the full name of the bird you have purchased. True Crested Canaries tend to be quite large on average, compared to their close relative, the popular crested Gloster Canary.
Weight: 18 - 20 grams
Average size: 14 centimeters
Lifespan: 8 - 12 years
Diet: The Crested Canary and its Crest-bred Canary consort have been kept in captivity for hundreds of years, and they thrive on a relatively easy-to-provide seed-based diet. The backbone of most Canary diets is a high quality canary seed mix formulated especially for canaries, with a high proportion of canary, rape, flax, linseed, sterilized hemp, thistle, and not too much millet. Some high-end seed mixes also contain freeze-dried fruits and vegetable bits, and anise may give the mix a wonderful aroma.You should regularly test the Crested Canary's seed for freshness by soaking and sprouting the seed. If the seed doesn't sprout, it's too old and stale for your canary. You can also buy special seeds that are easy to sprout in the home. These so-called soaking seed blends may include sunflower, safflower, and wheat that would otherwise be too large or too difficult for a Canary to crack by itself, yet once sprouted, they will gain in vitamins and become soft, delicious treats that your bird will love. However, seed alone just isn't enough. Chopped fresh greens like unsprayed chickweed, dandelion greens, and oregano are highly recommended, but any healthy greens such as the flowering heads of broccoli or chopped fruit like apples, apricots, and so on, will add vitamins and flavor to the diet. You should also be able to find some pellets formulated especially for Canaries. Some people report that their Canaries first learned to eat their pellets after they sprinkled them with a little apple juice. What about protein for the Crested Canary? Many people make a classic eggfood which consists of a hard-boiled egg chopped up well, with about 1 teaspoon of brewer's yeast (NEVER baking yeast) stirred into the mix. Don't leave eggfood sitting around. Remove what's left in the bowl after a couple of hours. It's especially important to provide the eggfood to molting or breeding birds.
Housing: Many commercial cages sold for Crested Canaries are too small. Take the time and trouble to find a cage that is at least 24”wide by 18” deep by 24” high. These birds cannot exercise by climbing. They need to fly, and the cage needs to give them space to do that. Placing the bird's cage fairly high should also help the bird's confidence. You need to provide adequate perches, of varying widths to allow the bird to change its grip and prevent wear on the feet. You can include toys like bells and swings. A mirror is a bad idea if it persuades a singing male that he has now won his mate and he needn't bother to sing so much. They also like food treats. A favorite foraging toy might be a millet spray, especially if you have soaked the spray for a few days in order to let it sprout.Crested Canaries, like all canaries, must be protected from mosquitoes, which can carry the deadly and disfiguring canary pox, in addition to other dangerous diseases. There is a vaccine for canary pox and if you live in an area where it's a reality that mosquitoes may get into your home from time to time, strongly consider asking your vet for this one-time vaccine.
Sometime around 1800, English breeders developed the spectacular Crested Canary. Other varieties of canaries were also developed that often or sometimes had crests, but the Crested Canary proved a reliable breeder that could be developed into its own “type.” The true Crested Canary is a rather large, stocky bird, and breeders continued to work, using the true Crested Canary as a starter for the ultimate development of the smaller but wildly popular Gloster Canary, which also has a well-shaped crest. Since some people may use the word “crested” simply to describe the canary's looks, rather than its variety, make sure you understand what breed of canary you have actually purchased, so that you won't go around calling your new pet by the wrong name.
Even though the Crested Canary is a “type” canary bred for looks and not song, a single male kept as a pet will sing – and often they'll sing very loudly and quite well. To give your pet the best chance of developing a great voice, make sure to play high quality canary song recordings to your male from the very beginning. Male canaries sing from exuberance and an excess of testosterone, as well as to claim territory and to attract females. Therefore, they will not sing much if at all, during the molting process. They may also quiet down some when they are busy assisting a female at her nest.The Crested Canary is usually trouble-free, but it is not unusual for some birds to develop abnormal benign growths. Don't breed these birds, and ask your vet about safely removing the feather cysts, but they are not cancer or a sign of disease, so don't worry unnecessarily either. Written by Elaine Radford