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Belgian Fancy Canary: Personality, Food & Care Guide (With Pictures)

Belgian fancy canary


The Belgian Fancy Canary is a remarkable bird with a “hunched” appearance. It is a type of Canary, meaning it is bred for its unique physical characteristics rather than its ability to sing or its vivid colors. However, that doesn’t mean that the Belgian Fancy Canary does not have a beautiful singing voice or striking colors. This bird has a fascinating history and plenty of distinctive features, so if you want to learn more, keep reading below.

Species Overview

Common Names: Belgian Fancy Canary, Belgian Canary
Scientific Name: Serinus canaria domesticus
Adult Size: 6.75 inches (17 cm).
Life Expectancy: 9–10 years

Origin and History

In the 18th century, the Belgian Fancy Canary came onto the scene. The bird originated from the Dutch Canary and helped breeders produce many frilled and posture breeds that exist today. Due to this and to the important role the Belgian Fancy Canary played in the development of other breeds, such as the Yorkshire and Scotch Fancy, the Belgian Fancy Canary is considered one of the most important birds among the Old Continental breeds.

Bird clubs were organized in Belgium during the early 1800s to continue the development of the breed. The popularity of this bird spread to Britain, where it became the most coveted of all fancy breeds.

The prevalence of the Belgian Fancy Canary declined someone during the two world wars. Many wars were fought in and around Belgium, nearly driving the Belgian Fancy Canary to extinction. Today, the breed has seen a resurgence; however, the breed is considered by some to be reduced from its original form.

Temperament

The Belgian Fancy Canary is considered a good-tempered, social bird. They tend to do well in cages or aviaries, and they are not known to be too aggressive. They can be shy at times and may not enjoy being handled too much, but they are entertaining nonetheless.

There are instances where it may not be ideal to keep a Belgian Fancy Canary in an area with certain other birds, however. For instance, two male canaries paired in the same enclosure may become territorial and get into fights. Likewise, a male Belgian Fancy Canary should have his own cage to encourage him to show off his lovely singing.

Belgian Fancy Canaries can be timid creatures, so it is not advised that they share housing with a more aggressive bird like a parakeet, a hookbill, or a lovebird. Generally speaking, Belgian Fancy Canaries can be housed with finches and other canaries if they are in a spacious enough aviary. Since they can be a bit timid, it may require a more experienced bird owner to help soothe them when they get ruffled.

  • Hardy and healthy
  • Good-natured
  • Beautiful
  • Not ideal for first-time bird owners

Speech & Vocalizations

The Belgian Fancy Canary is a type Canary that was bred for distinct physical features, such as shape or feathering, rather than singing ability. However, the Belgian Fancy Canary is absolutely capable of singing, and singing well at that!

Canaries don’t need much training or prompting to start singing. They are natural singers that tend to vocalize in cycles, as they often grow quiet during molting season. But once they have completed their molt, they will return to singing just like before.

Belgian Fancy Canary Colors and Markings

The Belgian Fancy Canary was not bred with vibrant colors or fascinating patterns in mind. In spite of that, this bird is strikingly beautiful, with a delicate simplicity to its coloration and markings. There are a variety of colors that the Belgian Fancy Canary may appear in, and below are some of the most common ones.

  • Yellow: the feathers are a gentle, smooth yellow with hints of white around the tips
  • Green: the entire body is covered in solid yellow-green feathers
  • White: the feathers will be pure white with occasional dustings of color
  • Buff: a pale, yellowish-brown color, almost like ochre

Caring for the Belgium Fancy Canary

The Belgian Fancy Canary does best in wide open spaces, so a spacious cage is necessary. You will also want to provide your bird with entertainment and exercise opportunities, so be sure to purchase several toys. Perches are a good way to encourage your Belgian Fancy Canary to get some exercise, and it’s best to include a variety of perches with different sizes so your bird can exercise its feet. Make sure there is at least one perch above the others so that your Belgian Fancy Canary has a place to roost.

The cage itself will need to be placed high in the room. This allows your Belgian Fancy Canary to get a good view of the whole room, almost like they are in a tree. You’ll also need to find a high-quality seed mix to feed your bird. Certain fruits and leafy vegetables can also be safely offered to your bird, but verify with your vet before making anything new a part of your bird’s regular diet.

Cleaning the cage is another vital part of caring for your bird. Clean the cage floor every 3–4 days, disinfect the cage three times per year, and clean and refill food and water dishes daily. Provide a bird bath as well so that your bird can keep itself clean.

It is not a bad idea to have a companion for your Belgian Fancy Canary. However, two canaries of the same sex should not be housed together, as they may grow territorial. This can lead to fights between your birds, causing them to be constantly stressed.

Common Health Problems

The Belgian Fancy Canary is typically a very hardy bird. They are not particularly susceptible to illness, so most illnesses are linked to poor cage conditions and an unhealthy or unbalanced diet. Often, a sick canary will rapidly lose weight, so it is essential to strive to maintain your bird’s health and to pay attention to any signs of a medical complication.

Common signs that your Belgian Fancy Canary may be sick include discoloration of droppings, ruffled feathers, poor appetite, lethargy, and a lack of singing. Wheezing or molting out of season are also concerning signs.

Canaries tend to be prone to injuries of the leg and foot. This is because their legs and toes are very delicate. To prevent these issues, regularly trim your canary’s claws. Likewise, avoid putting fine-fibered fabrics in your bird’s cage, as the fibers may get caught around their feet or toes and cut off circulation.

Diet and Nutrition

A proper diet and good nutrition are vital to your Belgian Fancy Canary’s health and well-being. A good seed mixture is ideal for canaries, and while pellets are considered suitable, many canaries avoid eating pellets.

Belgian Fancy Canaries will eat around a tablespoon of seed mixture each day. They rarely overeat, but it is still important to monitor their food intake. They may need to eat more during the colder months or during their molting season. Supplements will be useful on a seed mixture diet, but you can also serve fruits and vegetables that you can rotate into your Belgian Fancy Canary’s regular meals.

Pellets have additional vitamins and proteins compared to seeds, so supplemental additives may not be as necessary if you provide a pellet diet for your bird.

Exercise

A good way to provide activity for a Belgian Fancy Canary, other than with various perches, is to open up the cage and let your bird fly free. Of course, some precautions will need to be taken before allowing your bird to roam around the house. For instance, keep any potential chasers in a separate, closed room. This includes dogs, cats, and, yes, even children. Another precaution to have is to close and cover all windows. If your bird sees an uncovered, closed glass window, it may fly into it and suffer a great deal of pain.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Belgian Fancy Canary

Canaries are widely available, but Belgian Fancy Canaries can be more difficult to find. They are considered one of the rare types of canary due to their unique features and breeding. They are specialty birds that will most likely be found through specialty breeders. There may be rare occasions where this bird can be found at a bird show, a bird club, or even on the Internet, but the chances of that are much less likely.

The Belgian Fancy Canary is also a difficult bird to breed, adding to its rarity. Because of this, the price of this bird is likely to be higher than your average canary.

Conclusion

The Belgian Fancy Canary is a remarkable bird responsible for the birth and development of many other breeds. It is bred for its unique, “hunched” appearance and good-natured temperament. If you are looking for a Belgian Fancy Canary, you may have to search for a while. However, once you find your Belgian Fancy Canary and bring it home, it will all be worthwhile to hear the bird sing!


Featured Image Credit: Tony Tilford, Shutterstock

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