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Canary Vs. Parakeet - Understanding Which Makes a Better Pet

Canary Vs. Parakeet - Which Makes a Better Pet?
Canaries and parakeets are among the most popular pet birds. They are completely different as potential pets due to their differing temperaments.
Tanmay Tikekar
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2017
Did You Know?
Parakeets are relatives of parrots, whereas canaries are related to finches.

Choosing a pet is a very individual choice. When choosing a pet bird, most urban bird lovers go for canaries or parakeets. These two birds are similar in many respects, but differ in one important factor: companionship.

Here is a brief comparison of these two birds from the perspective of adopting them as pets.
As far as their looks go, both canaries and parakeets are vividly colored. Contrary to popular misconception, canaries are not always yellow. They are found in various colors, including green, blue, orange, and brown. Parakeets, of course, are famously colorful and attractive.
Cage Size
Canary in a cage
Canary in a cage
Parakeets in a cage
parakeets in a cage
Parakeets and canaries prefer different types of cages. Parakeets are climbing birds, who like cages that are higher than they are wider (as long as there is enough lateral space to maneuver). Canaries, on the other hand, prefer wide, horizontal cages. Neither canaries nor budgerigars (the most favored type of pet parakeet) grow to more than 12-15 cm.
parakeet playing with bell
Parakeet playing with bell
Both canaries and parakeets like to have toys they can nibble on, and an odd novelty or two. Cuttlebones/mineral blocks are a must for both birds. Toys with mirrors should not be given to either; parakeets may start paying attention to their reflection and ignore their owner, while canaries can get irritated by the mirror, and can lash out by pecking at it.
Eating a chili
Parakeet eating a chili
Both feed on similar diets, but the variations are very specific and should be observed. As far as possible, commercial premixes or food pellets specified for the particular bird should be provided. Fresh fruits and vegetable can be occasionally given, cut up into small pieces. Large pieces of leafy greens such as lettuce can be hung in their cages so that the birds can chew on it.
Yellow Canary
Alone Canary
Parakeets pair
friendly Parakeets
Friendly Parakeets
This is the major difference between pet canaries and pet parakeets. Parakeets are naturally very social. In the wild, they live in large groups, and in fact, prefer to breed only when they can hear other parakeets in the vicinity. They can form incredibly affectionate bonds with their owners. They like to be taken out of their cages for a few minutes every day, and like perching on their owner's hands or shoulders. In fact, parakeets need a constant playmate and companion; if the owner doesn't provide quality companionship, and doesn't buy another parakeet, the lone parakeet can become extremely depressed and irritated. They also learn to talk with their owners.

In direct contrast, canaries prefer being left alone to their own devices. They don't like being handled, though some may tolerate or even like it, and don't see humans as a natural companion. Canaries do much better in pairs. Also, while parakeets, sometimes famously, can talk, canaries are songbirds, and warble away for a long time. They usually don't form loyal or affectionate bonds with their owners, but may recognize them over time.

Canaries and parakeets are only found to be in contrast when it comes to their social quotient. If you want your pet to be entertaining, and can reciprocate by providing quality companionship to it, parakeets are a better bet for you. On the other hand, if you are of a gentle, retiring disposition or can't spend much time with your pet, canaries are the way to go.