Small when compared to other birds kept in captivity, canaries are very hardy birds for their size and have been favorites with bird fanciers for years. Canaries are members of the finch family of songbirds, and belong to the Passeriformes Order which includes birds that perch (over half of all the world's birds). With a distinctive foot structure of three toes forward and one toe pointing backward, they have a natural perching foot position. Interestingly, while perching, the muscles of their feet are relaxed and must be contracted to release the perch for flight.
Social and colorful birds, canaries differ markedly by variety in song and coloration and are thus considered to be either song type or color type. There are at least 98 varieties of color type alone. Singing is generally a behavior limited to cocks.
Cocks ordinarily do not get along well together and should be housed separately. The practice of providing a mirror in lieu of a companion for a male canary will only be stressful - his image will be perceived as a threat. Take care in sexing and housing males and females together. Canaries are prolific breeders. Attentive parents, both the males and females participate in raising the chicks.
The cost for a canary can range from $65 to over $400, and will vary depending upon variety and sex.