Significance to humans

The island canary (Serinus canaria) was the first passerine bird to be domesticated and kept as a cage-bird. The Spaniards conquered the Canary Islands in 1478, and they soon brought canaries to Europe in large numbers. A lively trade in this popular cage-bird soon developed. The most common color of the domestic canary is the well-known bright yellow, or "canary yellow," but numerous other color varieties also have been

A house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) feeds on a berry. (Photo by J. Schumacher/VIREO. Reproduced by permission.)

bred. Red-colored canaries owe their origin, and their reddish coloration, to captive interbreeding of the island canary with the black-capped red siskin (Carduelis atriceps). Canaries are still a common pet and are prized all over the world as eager songsters. Selective breeding has produced varieties of canaries with distinctly different songs. A variety of other finches also are kept as cage-birds for their song, lively behavior, and/or attractive plumage. Other than the domesticated canary, all finches have some indirect, local economic importance through ecotourism associated with birding.

A red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) in water. Reproduced by permission.)

(Photo by S. Holt/VIREO.

A red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) in water. Reproduced by permission.)

(Photo by S. Holt/VIREO.

Types Pigeons

1. Gray-crowned rosy finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis); 2. Canary Islands finch (Fringilla teydea); 3. Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra); 4. Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs); 5. Common redpoll (Acanthis flammea); 6. American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis); 7. Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla); 8. Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris). (Illustration by Barbara Duperron)

Full Name Carduelis

1. Hawfinch {Coccothraustes coccothraustes); 2. Eurasian siskin {Carduelis spinus); S. Evening grosbeak {Coccothraustes vespertinus); 4. Pine grosbeak {Pinicola enucleator); 5. European goldfinch {Carduelis carduelis); 6. European serin {Serinus serinus); 7. Island canary {Serinus canaria); B. Eurasian bullfinch {Pyrrhula pyrrhula). {Illustration by Barbara Duperron)

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