• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Why Do Canaries Sing? Facts & FAQs


May 4, 2023
Lizard Canary


Lizard Canary

When people think of pets in the home, the first two that come to mind are dogs and cats. While yes, these two pets are wonderful to share your space with, some prefer birds as their confidants. Canaries are one of the most popular bird options for people who want a bit of company. One of the biggest reasons people are so attracted to these birds is the beautiful melodies they produce. Yes, canaries are songbirds. Knowing this fact raises the question, why do canaries sing? It could be a variety of reasons, from singing to attract a mate to singing to claim territory. That’s what we’re here to find out. If you’re a lover of these cute little songbirds, we’re going to tell you everything you want to know about the melodies they create and why they do it.


When Do Canaries Start Singing?

Before we get into why canaries sing, let’s take a look at how the songs of these birds start. Naturally, many people may think canaries are born singing. That isn’t the case. Most canaries begin singing at around 3 months of age. Of course, their first sounds aren’t full songs. Instead, they begin with short chirps that are softer and quieter. In the wild, canaries learn most of their singing ability from their fathers since male canaries are known for their singing. Male canaries are also known for being active in the lives of young chicks. Whether a canary is raised around other canaries or not, they will still learn to sing by imitating sounds they hear in their environment as singing is an innate ability for them.

The vocalization of young canaries comes in phases. The first one is the imitation phase. This is the phase we spoke about above when the chicks begin imitating sounds at around 3 months of age. The second phase is called practice. This phase begins between 5 and 6 months of age and is when a young canary truly begins to experiment with its sounds. You’ll notice longer and more complex vocalizations. You’ll also notice they begin memorizing from other sources. The final phase is known as mastery. This happens when the young canary is around 8 to 12 months of age. As the name suggests, this is when a canary has mastered its singing ability and can vocalize for longer durations.

Yellow and red fife canary
Image Credit: Greg Mann, Shutterstock

Do All Canaries Sing?

Yes, male and female canaries both sing. However, you’ll find that males sing quite a bit more than females. This isn’t because female canaries don’t sing. If you have a female canary in your home, you can easily train her to sing. What you’ll find is that she sings less frequently and for shorter periods than her male counterparts. As it turns out, female canaries have a smaller nucleus that is in control of their song production than males do. Not to mention, male canaries have more reason to sing considering they begin establishing territories and entering sexual maturity at around 8 to 12 months of age.


Why Do Canaries Sing?

Now that we’ve learned a bit about canaries and their songs, let’s learn the reasons why canaries sing. Here we’ll take a look at both genders to help you better understand why male canaries often sing more often than females.

Why Female Canaries Sing

Female canaries sing because it’s an innate action for them. They also enjoy singing when they are happy. In the wild, female canaries have no true need for singing. Females don’t sing to attract mates or fight for territory. Instead, they use their chirps frequently and sing when they are feeling happy or content. However, a female canary that doesn’t sing isn’t necessarily unhappy. She may simply prefer chirping or doesn’t feel singing is the thing for her.

red factor canary perching
Image Credit: Chris Allen, Pixabay

Why Male Canaries Sing

Male canaries are easily the more vocal of the two genders. As we mentioned, they can sing longer than females thanks to their larger nuclei. They also have more reason to share their songs.

Here are a few reasons why male canaries may sing:

  • Singing to attract a mate – Once a male canary reaches sexual maturity at around 8 to 12 months of age, he will use his song to attract a female for mating.
  • Singing to claim territory – When trying to win over a female, if other males are in the vicinity, male canaries will use vocalizations to intimidate the other males and assert their claim to the female and territory around them.
  • Singing out of happiness – All canaries enjoy singing to show they are happy or content.
  • Boredom – If a canary is bored or lonely, it may sing for attention. Often, this happens at night.


What If My Canary Doesn’t Sing?

Canary owners, especially those who are used to hearing sweet songs from their birds, get a bit concerned when their canaries stop singing. There are even instances when families bring a canary home and don’t get the opportunity to hear its song because the bird shows no interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong with your canary.

Male canaries are known for singing year-round. However, how much they sing will change due to changes in the seasons and the daylight cycles this introduces. Canaries sing a lot during springtime. This is due to the days becoming longer and food becoming more abundant for them. In the summer, however, you may notice your canaries are singing less. This is due to them conserving some of their energy for their upcoming molting or mating cycle.

Canaries aren’t supposed to sing non-stop. Often, without meaning to do it, canary owners put their beloved birds in a constant state of wanting to mate. This happens when canaries are kept away from natural sunlight too much. If you want your canary to stay on a natural, healthy cycle, they need to be aware of changes in the daylight schedule. To allow this to happen, throughout the day your birds should get some natural sunlight. This will help them better understand the seasons and when they should prepare themselves for mating.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are lots of reasons why canaries enjoy singing. Whether it’s a female canary that is sharing her contentment or a male canary that is looking for the right mate, hearing the beautiful song of these birds is a pleasure for all owners. If you have canaries and have always wondered why they sing, we hope we’ve given you the information you want. Luckily, this will help you better understand your canary and why they share their songs with you.

Featured Image Credit: Fernando Zamora Vega, Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *