Parisian Frill Canary

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Is the Parisian Frill Canary right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Parisian Canary

Scientific name: Serinus canaria domesticus

The basics:
The Parisian Frill Canary is a huge, impressively ornamented type canary – the largest of the frilled canaries and, to many, the most beautiful. They were developed in the late 1880s and into the early 1900s by a group of Parisian canary breeders working toward a frilled canary that was larger and more impressive than its ancestors from Holland like the Northern Dutch Frill.

All frilled canaries may display frills in three classic areas -- on the shoulders to create a “mantle” or cape-like appearance, at the breast to form a low collar or so-called “jabot,” and just above the thighs to form the “fins.” In the case of the Parisian Frill, however, these frills may be doubled, and there should be frills on the head as well. When looking at a good specimen, you have the impression that the canary is frilled all over except for the tail and flight feathers.

Worth noting: In most canaries, long, corkscrew-type nails would be a problem or even a sign of a health issue. With Parisian Frills, they are part of the show standard that a breeder is trying to achieve. That's right – even the toes are curly!

28 grams (1 oz.)

Average size:
19 - 22 centimeters (7.5 - 8.7 in.)

7 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
Their voice is not going to knock a true song canary off its perch, but some of the Parisian Frills will surprise you with a pleasant song. Consider it a bonus, as this bird is bred and judged based solely on size and appearance.

Frilled Canaries in general, and Parisian Frills in particular, may be a little more nervous than some other canary varieties. If you place their cage higher rather than lower, pairs and individual birds will feel more secure. These independent and somewhat delicate birds should usually be housed as singles or in pairs, rather than in colonies or in mixed-species exhibits.

Because of their unusual frilled feathers, Parisian Frill Canaries may not be as well protected against damp and cold as some other canaries, and they need a comfortable, climate controlled birdroom. Each individual or pair requires its own cage. The living quarters might be a minimum size of 24”w x 18”d x 24”h, and it is strongly advised to consult with other exhibitors about which show cages should be used for training. You should also take care that the nesting material, perches, and other equipment are not made of materials likely to catch on the bird's curly toenails.

The backbone of the Parisian Frill diet 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. Test the seed for freshness by soaking and sprouting. 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.

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.

Protein is important for the molting or breeding Parisian Frill. 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.

Written by Elaine Radford

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