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A photo of a Atlantic Canary (Serinus canaria), male
Atlantic Canary, Male

Atlantic Canary

Serinus canaria

The Atlantic canary, or Serinus canaria, is a small, delightful passerine bird that graces the genus Serinus within the Fringillidae family. This charming bird is native to the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. In the wild, its plumage is primarily a yellow-green hue, adorned with brownish streaks along its back. The species has been embraced in captivity, leading to the emergence of various color varieties.

Identification Tips

Adult males of the species boast a predominantly yellow-green head and underparts, with a more vivid yellow on the forehead, face, and supercilium. The lower belly and undertail-coverts are of a paler, whitish tone, and the bird's sides are marked with dark streaks. The upperparts are a grey-green with dark streaks, and the rump exhibits a subdued yellow. Females are similar but present a greyer head and breast, with less yellow on the underparts. Juveniles are predominantly brown with dark streaks. The Atlantic canary is distinguishable from its relative, the European serin, by its larger size, longer body, and the presence of more grey and brown in its plumage.

Habitat

The Atlantic canary thrives in a diverse array of environments, from pine and laurel forests to sandy dunes. It is most commonly found in semi-open areas with sparse tree coverage, such as orchards and small woods, and adapts well to human-altered landscapes like parks and gardens.

Distribution

This bird is endemic to the Macaronesian region of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, including the Canary Islands, Azores, and Madeira. It has also established a presence on Midway Atoll in the northwest Hawaiian Islands and was historically introduced to Bermuda, though it has since died out there.

Behaviour

The Atlantic canary is a sociable bird, often nesting in close proximity to others, with each pair defending a small territory. It is known for its gregarious nature, typically feeding in flocks.

Song & Calls

The Atlantic canary's song is a silvery twittering, bearing resemblance to the songs of the European serin and citril finch, a melody that adds a touch of magic to its natural surroundings.

Breeding

Breeding season sees the Atlantic canary constructing a cup-shaped nest, well-concealed among leaves, often at the end of a branch or in a fork. The nest is crafted from twigs, grass, moss, and other plant materials, and lined with softer substances like hair and feathers. The eggs, laid in clutches of 3 to 4, are pale blue or blue-green with violet or reddish markings, and hatch after 13–14 days of incubation.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Atlantic canary consists mainly of seeds, including those from weeds, grasses, and figs. It also consumes other plant materials and small insects, foraging on the ground or among low vegetation.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the Atlantic canary as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival.

Atlantic Canary Sounds


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