American Singer Canary

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Is the American Singer Canary right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: American Singer

Scientific name: Serinus canaria domesticus

The basics:
The American Singer Canary is the only American breed of canary that was bred, first and foremost, for spectacular song. Today, it is one of the most popular pet canaries found in the United States. The original breed was developed by several Boston, Massachusetts area women in the 1930s, who aimed for a bird that is approximately 2/3 German Roller and 1/3 Border Canary.

According to the American Singers Club (ASC), "The American Singer Canary is a cross between the German Roller and the English Border Fancy. It takes approximately 4 to 5 years of systematic breeding to develop a strain of American Singers from its Border and German Roller ancestors."

“American Singer” is now a copyrighted name and your canary is not a genuine American Singer unless it is banded with a closed, registered American Singer band. Because this talented canary captured the imagination of a nation, many people may claim that they hold this breed, so check for the proper band and registration. That said, many of the unofficial descendants of American Singer Canaries can make good pets that sing well, even if they aren't eligible to compete in shows.

If you want a singing canary, then you should seek out a breeder who will guarantee that the bird is male and who is willing to exchange the bird if it doesn't sing.

Because it's bred for song, not looks, the American Singer Canary may appear in a variety of plumages. It tends to be a medium-sized canary whose throat puffs out fully when it sings.

15 - 20 grams (0.53 to 0.70 oz.)

Average Size:
14.6 centimeters (5.75 in.)

8 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
The male American Singer Canary is a splendid, confident singer who can fill the home with song. They can truly sing hour after hour, if they are kept as a single pet, in a confortable cage, where they can fly, play, and feel confident in the home. Be aware that the very best singers do receive song training. Purchase training recordings of prize-winning singers, and allow your bird to listen regularly, so that he can learn from the best.

Although an American Singer Canary who has never sung at all, yet otherwise seems healthy, is probably a female, then there are some good reasons why a healthy male might stop singing. They need to feel strong and full of testosterone to sing, so your bird is unlikely to sing much or at all while he's molting. If the bird is being terrified or teased by another pet, such as a cat watching the cage, or a parrot heckling the canary, then you would need to put a stop to any situation that frightens the canary. If the house is much too quiet, then the bird may fall silent too, just because it's a natural instinct to assume that a predator must be lurking if everyone has gone quiet You might be surprised at how quickly your canary tunes up if you put on some classical music playing very, very softly.

Many commercial cages sold for American Singer 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 high should also help your pet'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.

American Singer 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.

Although the American Singer Canary breed is less than 100 years old, its domestic canary ancestors have been kept in captivity for hundreds of years, and these hardy birds 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 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, even for the sturdy American Singer Canary. 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 American Singer 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.

Written by Elaine Radford


lovely singing voice, fabulous singer, melodic, beautiful voice, beautiful sound


incessant racket, cleaning, early riser


higher metabolisms, toys..especially their mirrors, open flight time

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