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Canary
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Serinus
Species: S. canaria
Binomial name
Serinus canaria
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Canary (Serinus canaria), also called the Island Canary, Atlantic Canary or Common Canary, is a small passerine bird belonging to the genus Serinus in the finch family, Fringillidae. It is native to the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. Wild birds are mostly yellow-green, with brownish streaking on the back. The species is common in captivity and a number of colour varieties have been bred.

This bird is the natural symbol of the Canary Islands, together with the Phoenix canariensis.[2]

Contents

Description

It is 12.5 cm long, with a wingspan of 20–23 cm and a weight of 15–20 g.[3] The male has a largely yellow-green head and underparts with a yellower forehead, face and supercilium.[4] The lower belly and undertail-coverts are whitish and there are some dark streaks on the sides. The upperparts are grey-green with dark streaks and the rump is dull yellow.[5] The female is similar to the male but duller with a greyer head and breast and less yellow underparts. Juvenile birds are largely brown with dark streaks.

It is about 10% larger, longer and less contrasted than its relative the Serin, and has more grey and brown in its plumage and relatively shorter wings.[3]

The song is a silvery twittering similar to the songs of the Serin and Citril Finch.[3][4]

Taxonomy

The species was scientifically discovered and described by Carolus Linnaeus in his Systema Naturae. He named it Fringilla Canaria but it was later moved to the genus Serinus. Its closest relative is the European Serin and the two can sometimes produce fertile hybrids.[6]

Etymology

The bird is named after the Canary Islands, not the other way around, derived from the Latin name canariae insulae ("islands of dogs") used by Arnobius, referring to the large dogs kept by the inhabitants of the islands.[7] The colour canary yellow is in turn named after the yellow Domestic Canary.

Distribution and habitat

It is endemic to the Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira in the region known as Macaronesia in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. In the Canary Islands it is common on Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro but more local on Gran Canaria and rare on Lanzarote and Fuerteventura where it has only recently begun breeding.[5][8] It is common in Madeira including Porto Santo and the Desertas Islands and has been recorded on the Salvage Islands. In the Azores it is common on all islands.[5] The population has been estimated at 80,000-90,000 pairs in the Canary Islands, 30,000-60,000 pairs in the Azores and 4,000-5,000 pairs in Madeira.[3]

It occurs in a wide variety of habitats from pine and laurel forests to sand dunes. It is most common in semi-open areas with small trees such as orchards and copses. It frequently occurs in man-made habitats such as parks and gardens. It is found from sea-level up to at least 760 m in Madeira, 1100 m in the Azores and to above 1500 m in the Canary Islands.[3]

It has become established on Midway Atoll in the north-west Hawaiian Islands where it was first introduced in 1911. It was also introduced to neighbouring Kure Atoll but failed to become established.[9] Birds were introduced to Bermuda in 1930 and quickly started breeding but they began to decline in the 1940s after scale insects devastated the population of Bermuda cedar and by the 1960s they had died out.[10] The species also occurs in Puerto Rico but is not yet established there.[11]

Behaviour

Reproduction

It is a gregarious bird which often nests in groups with each pair defending a small territory. The cup-shaped nest is built 1–6 m above the ground in a tree or bush, most commonly at 3–4 m.[5] It is well-hidden amongst leaves, often at the end of a branch or in a fork. It is made of twigs, grass, moss and other plant material and lined with soft material including hair and feathers.[3]

The eggs are laid between January and July in the Canary Islands, from March to June with a peak of April and May in Madeira and from March to July with a peak of May and June in the Azores. They are pale blue or blue-green with violet or reddish markings concentrated at the broad end. A clutch contains 3 to 4 or occasionally 5 eggs and 2-3 broods are raised each year. The eggs are incubated for 13–14 days and the young birds fledge after 14–21 days, most commonly after 15–17 days.[3]

Feeding

It typically feeds in flocks, foraging on the ground or amongst low vegetation. It mainly feeds on seeds such as those of weeds, grasses and figs. It also feeds on other plant material and small insects.[3] It has also been found that canaries need gravity to swallow, thus leading to death from dehydration in zero gravity conditions such as space.[12]

Relationship with humans

Domestic Canary

This species is often kept as a pet; see Domestic Canary for details. Selective breeding has produced many varieties, differing in colour and shape. Yellow birds are particularly common while red birds have been produced by interbreeding with the Red Siskin. Canaries were formerly used by miners to warn of dangerous gases ("canary in a coal mine"). The bird is also widely used in scientific research. Canaries are often depicted in the media with Tweety Bird being a well-known example.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Serinus canaria. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern.
  2. ^ Ley 7/1991, de 30 de abril, de símbolos de la naturaleza para las Islas Canarias - in spanish
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Snow, D. W. & Perrins, C. M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic concise ed. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
  4. ^ a b Clement, P., Harris, A., & and Davis, J. (1993). Finches and Sparrows. Helm ISBN 0-7136-8017-2.
  5. ^ a b c d Tony Clarke, Chris Orgill & Tony Dudley (2006) Field Guide to the Birds of the Atlantic Islands, Christopher Helm, London.
  6. ^ Arnaiz-Villena, A.; Álvarez-Tejado, M.; Ruíz-del-Valle, V.; Garcĺa-de-la-Torre, C.; Varela, P.; Recio, M. J.; Ferre, S. & Martinez-Laso, J. (1999) "Rapid Radiation of Canaries (Genus Serinus)", Molecular Biology and Evolution, 16(1): 2-11.
  7. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  8. ^ Clarke, Tony & Collins, David (1996). A Birdwatchers' Guide to the Canary Islands. Prion, Huntingdon. ISBN 1-871104-06-9.
  9. ^ Pratt, H. Douglas; Bruner, Philip L. & Berrett, Delwyn G. (1987). A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific, Princeton University Press, Chichester.
  10. ^ Amos, Eric J. R. (1991). A guide to the Birds of Bermuda.
  11. ^ American Ornithologists Union (1998). Checklist of North American Birds, 7th ed.
  12. ^ http://www.braingle.com/brainteasers/teaser.php?op=2;id=2828;comm=0

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Serinus canaria

Taxonavigation

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea
Familia: Fringillidae
Genus: Serinus
Species: Serinus canaria
Subspecies: S. c. canaria - S. c. domesticus

Name

Serinus canaria (Linnaeus, 1758)

Vernacular names

Català: Canari
Česky: Kanár divoký
Deutsch: Kanarienvogel
Ελληνικά: Καναρίνι
English: Canary
Español: Canario
Français: Serin des Canaries
Ido: Kanario
Italiano: Canarino
Nederlands: Kanarie
日本語: カナリア
Polski: Kanarek
Português: Canário, Canário-do-reino, Canário-belga
Русский: Канарейка
Svenska: Kanariefågel
Türkçe: Kanarya
中文: 金丝雀







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