Singer canaries are also
found with white ground color. This
photo is of a dominant white canary hen. The gene for
white is dominating the yellow ground color so that it only
appears on the edges of the flight feathers (wings).
When the melanin is black/brown, the
white ground colored bird
is said to be
a "blue" canary. This "blue" is not like you
would see on a parakeet, but is actually appears to be more of a slate gray.
This photo shows a blue hen.
also encounter canaries where the black pigment is absent from
The brown melanin that is left changes the appearance of a
yellow ground colored canary to a warm cinnamon color.
This coloration is know as the "cinnamon factor".
brown melanin gene occurs in a white ground canary it produces
what is termed a "fawn" color, which is more of a beige
Yellow Ground Color
White Ground Color
cinnamon inheritance is carried genetically, and is a sex-linked
gene that can be passed on from either the father or the mother.
For those of you interested in breeding canaries, you should
refer to a
w/Cinnamon Factor Chart.PDF that shows you the possible results
in offspring, color-wise, when you pair a male of a certain
color with a hen of a certain color.
You will notice that
these two-day old nestmates have different colored eyes.
The one on the left has garnet colored eyes, while the
baby on the right has black eyes.
Garnet colored eyes
are an indicator that the chick on the left is a
cinnamon. As the chick gets older, they eyes will
darken and will appear the same as non-cinnamon birds.
It is possible to
determine the sex of a chick this young in some cinnamon
pairings. The baby on the left in this photo is a
girl. The chart referred to above gives you clues
as to what sex garnet eyed chicks may be depending on
the parent's cinnamon traits.
A garnet eyed baby on
the left with her normal sibling
Here are the same two
babies at about three weeks old. The cinnamon baby
has feathered out with the white ground color of her
mother, so is technically called a "fawn". Her
garnet colored eyes have darkened and look the same as
her nestmate now.
At this age, their
instinct has them crouch down and remain still when a
"predator" (including a human) is around.
The fawn hen and her
sibling nearing 3 weeks of age
Here we see the fawn
hen in the weaning cage and not looking so much like a
baby anymore. It is amazing to see them develop
and change from helpless chicks to independent beings in
only a few short weeks.
Seeing beautiful color
patterns like these make me glad that canaries are not
just a YELLOW bird!!!
The fawn hen and her
sibling nearing five weeks of age.
Melanin can be
totally absent from the bird, which is what you see when you
look at a canary that is completely yellow, or completely white.
This is called a "clear" bird. All you are
seeing is the pure ground color of the bird. When melanin only affects a
few feathers in a patch no bigger than a dime, the bird is
To the other
extreme, a bird totally covered with the melanin overlay is
called "self". When one of these dark birds has only a few
feathers showing of the ground color, it is referred to as a
between the ticked canary and the foul canary is called
variegated. This is where the pattern or patches of
melanin appear anywhere on the bird. Each variegated bird
is different, and the coloration can be quite beautiful.
Most of the singers you
see on the show circuit with the most varied songs are the
medium variegated to self in coloration. Some believe that
as the coloration lightens, the variety of song decreases.
I'm not sure that is true, as I've recently seen some clear
yellow birds in the winner's lineup at bird shows.