Belgian Canary

Serinus canaria domestica

Last updated: November 15, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Tony Tilford/Shutterstock.com

The Belgian canary is one of the oldest and most influential in its genus.

Belgian Canary Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Fringillidae
Genus
Serinus
Scientific Name
Serinus canaria domestica

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Belgian Canary Conservation Status


Belgian Canary Facts

Prey
various seeds, berries, fruit, insects, and vegetation.
Main Prey
Seeds
Name Of Young
Chicks
Group Behavior
  • Semi-social
Fun Fact
The Belgian canary is one of the oldest and most influential in its genus.
Estimated Population Size
Unknown
Most Distinctive Feature
Hunched back
Distinctive Feature
Small heads, thin necks, broad shoulders
Temperament
Friendly but timid
Training
Must be trained to sit in a hunched position
Incubation Period
13 or 14 days
Age Of Independence
6 weeks
Age Of Fledgling
3 weeks
Habitat
Caged
Predators
large birds like falcons or crows and reptiles like tree snakes or pythons
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Favorite Food
Grass seed
Type
Bird
Common Name
Belgian canary
Origin
Belgium

Belgian Canary Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Green
Skin Type
Feathers
Lifespan
10 to 15 years
Length
6 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
One year

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“Domestic canaries are popular cage and aviary birds.”

Summary

The Belgian canary (Serinus canaria domestica) is one of the most popular and influential canaries that helped develop some of the world’s most fantastic canary varieties today. Bred for its body posture, the Belgian can sit hunched on its perch. They are an excellent choice for those who want to showcase them, but they can be timid, nervous, and hard to breed. Learn everything there is to know about this favorite canary pet, including where it originated, how it behaves, and what it eats.

5 Amazing Belgian Canary Facts

  • The Belgian canary is one of the oldest and most influential in its genus.
  • The Flemish developed this breed from the Old Dutch canary of the 18th century.
  • This bird is primarily used as a pet or for show.
  • This breed is friendly but can be timid and aggressive around other birds.
  • Belgian canaries are bred for their body posture and trained to sit hunched on their perch.

Where to Find the Belgian Canary

The Belgian canary is originally from Europe in Belgium, France, and The Netherlands. The Flemish developed this breed from the Old Dutch canary, and it has since been used to create other breeds. The Belgian canary was prized and highly popular in Britain, Belgium, and the United States from the 18th to the middle of the 19th century. Today, you can buy this canary breed from local or online pet stores, and people often use them in shows. 

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Scientific Name

The Belgian canary (Serinus canaria domestica) belongs to the Passeriformes order, which includes half of all bird species most commonly known as “perching birds.” Its Fringillidae family encompasses the true finches who eat seeds and nuts and do not migrate. Its genus, Serinus, is a group of small birds in the finch family found in Europe and Africa with yellow in their plumage. 

Size, Appearance, & Behavior

Belgian canary engraving
The Flemish developed the Belgian canary breed from the Old Dutch canary of the 18th century.

©Morphart Creation/Shutterstock.com

The Belgian canary is a long, thin bird bred primarily for its type, body, and back hump. They have an average length of a little over six inches, but their weight and wingspan are unknown. They have small heads, thin necks, broad shoulders, and an almost triangular-shaped body. When they sit, their tails and backs are perpendicular to the perch. Belgian canaries have smooth green, white, yellow, or buff-colored feathers that lay neatly. These canaries are friendly, social birds that make excellent pets. While they do well in cages or enclosures, they can be timid and aggressive around other bird species. Males will also fight one another when kept in the same cage. This bird was not bred for its song, only its body posture. 

Migration Pattern and Timing

Belgian canaries are domestic birds and therefore do not migrate. 

Diet

Belgian canaries are omnivores who primarily eat seeds.

What Does the Belgian Canary Eat?

The canaries eat various seeds, including grass seed, Venetian redrape, hulled oats, white millet, flaxseed, and perilla. Those in the wild will also consume berries, fruit, insects, and vegetation. They like open spaces to eat and prefer to forage in trees, shrubs, grasses, or the ground. If you have a caged canary, ensure they have enough space to enjoy their meals.

Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status

The IUCN does not recognize the Belgian canary as a species. Therefore, we do not know its conservation status or what threats it faces. However, these birds are primarily bred for captivity and bird shows, so they do not face the same conditions as wild birds.

What Eats the Belgian Canary?

Domestic canaries do not have natural predators, but those in the wild have quite a few. They can fall victim to large birds like falcons or crows and reptiles like tree snakes or pythons. The canaries are social birds who find safety in numbers. You will often find them in flocks of at least 30 individuals, which provides them with some protection.

Reproduction, Young, and Molting

Belgian canaries breed in captivity with help from humans. They can breed easily under the proper conditions, but they tend to be high-strung and are not a free breeder or a good feeder. Canary breeding season begins in the spring, and they must be at least one year old to reproduce. Females lay three to six eggs in a breeding cage, and males will tend to them by bringing food. Females incubate alone for 13 or 14 days, and both parents assist in feeding their nestlings. The young fledge the nest around three weeks old and become independent by six weeks. After this time, the female can produce another brood.

Population

The global Belgian canary population is unknown. This canary is bred as a pet and not often found in the wild, if at all. Therefore, little is known about their population trends, including increases or decreases, fluctuations, or fragmentations.

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

Belgian Canary FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where are Belgian canaries from?

The Belgian canary is originally from Europe in Belgium, France, and The Netherlands. The Flemish developed this breed from the Old Dutch canary, and it has since been used to create other breeds.

What is the Belgian canary known for?

The Belgian canary is a long, thin bird bred primarily for its type, body, and back hump. When they sit, their tails and backs are perpendicular to the perch.

How do Belgian canaries behave?

These canaries are friendly, social birds that make excellent pets. While they do well in cages or enclosures, they can be timid and aggressive around other bird species.

What do Belgian canaries eat?

The canaries eat various seeds, including grass seed, Venetian redrape, hulled oats, white millet, flaxseed, and perilla. Those in the wild will also consume berries, fruit, insects, and vegetation.

What threatens the Belgian canary?

These birds are primarily bred for captivity and bird shows, so they do not face the same conditions as wild birds.

What preys on Belgian canaries?

Domestic canaries do not have natural predators, but those in the wild have quite a few. They can fall victim to large birds like falcons or crows and reptiles like tree snakes or pythons.

How many eggs does the Belgian canary lay?

 Females lay three to six eggs in a breeding cage, and males will tend to them by bringing food. Females incubate alone for 13 or 14 days, and both parents assist in feeding their nestlings.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_canary
  2. Old Varities Canary Association, USA, Available here: https://www.ovcaus.org/belgian-fancy

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