Canary vs. Parakeet- What’s the Difference?

Canary and Parakeets are both very colorful and playful birds. They are both a popular choice for pets.

Both of these birds are small, colorful, and can be easily kept as pets in small apartments.

Since they have so much in common, one can easily get confused between them.

Today, we are going to look at all the differences between Canary and Parakeets.

Parakeet Vs Canar – Major Differences

Here’s a quick rundown of the major differences between parakeets and canaries:

  • Origins: Parakeets are members of the Parrot Family, while canaries are related to finches. Parakeets originated in the dry grasslands of Australia. Canaries originated in the Canary Islands off the western coast of Africa.
  • Appearance: Parakeets are famously colorful. While the greatest number of parakeets have green feathers over most of the bodies and yellow heads, there are parakeets that have feathers of anthracite (charcoal gray), blue, red, pink, rainbow, and even canary yellow. There was a time when all pet canaries were yellow, but there are also canaries with feathers of ivory, bronze, onyx, green, and red, as well as brown and yellow patterns.
  • Size: Canaries are small birds, while parakeets can be small to medium-sized (in the case of English parakeets). Canaries are typically 3.9 to 4.7 inches (99 to 119 mm) long and weigh 0.3 to 0.9 ounces (8.5 to 25.5 grams). Parakeets can be 7 to 11 inches (178 to 279 mm) long and weigh as much as 4.5 ounces (126 grams).
  • Cages: Parakeets are climbing birds. They prefer vertical cages that have room for ladders and hoops. Canaries are flying birds. They like horizontal cages they can fly across.
  • Toys and mirrors: In this respect, parakeets and canaries are similar. Both kinds of birds enjoy toys they can chew. Both birds should not be given mirrors or toys with reflective surfaces. A parakeet will prefer its reflection to its owner, and a canary will attack its reflection in the mirror.

Now let’s take a closer look at the differences in the kinds of activities you can enjoy with parakeets and canaries.

Scientific Classification

The scientific name of Canary is Serinus Canaria, and it belongs to the Fringillidae family.

The domesticated Canary is simply called Canary, while the wild kind is called Atlantic or common Canary.

They are songbirds that originated from the islands of Macaronesian. These islands are Azores, Madeira, and Canary. This is how the bird got its name Canary.

The scientific name of Parakeet is Melopsittacus Undulatus, and it belongs to the family of Psittacidae.

Parakeets are more commonly known as Budgerigar or Budgie. They are nomadic birds.

This is probably why they have managed to survive in parts of Australia with harsh and arid weather.

Habitat and Distribution

Parakeets are nomadic birds but are primarily found in Australia only.

Canary vs. Parakeet- What’s the Difference

Outside Australia, only one place is recognized to be a long-term establishment of these birds.

This establishment is found near Florida. The canaries, as already mentioned, are native to the three islands of Macaronesian.

Parakeets prefer to live in open grounds like grasslands and scrublands. They usually stay in small flocks but can sometimes be seen in large flocks if conditions are favorable.

Parakeets move from one place to another depending on the availability of food and water. They prefer to move to woodlands or coastal areas in drought conditions.

The Canaries can be found in a wide variety of habitats. They can be found in forests as well as sand dunes.

They also love to stay in artificial habitats like parks and gardens.

Physical Appearance

Let’s have a look at some differences between Canary and Parakeet based on their appearance.

Size and Weight

Parakeets are slighting larger and weigh more than the Canaries.

The average length of Parakeets is 18 cm, while the average length of Canary is 10 to 12 cm. On average, a canary weighs around 15 grams.

Parakeets weigh more than twice the weight of Canary. On average, Parakeets weigh around 30 to 40 grams.

Some Parakeets can even weigh up to 60 grams.

In addition to this, Parakeets kept in captivity weigh even more than those living in their natural habitats.


Parakeets have a longer wingspan than Canary birds.

The average length of the Canary’s wingspan ranges from 21 to 24 cm. Parakeets have a longer wingspan measuring up to 30 cm in length.


The Canaries have short tails, while the Parakeets have long but flat tails.

The Shape of the Beaks

The canaries have a straight beak. It is small in size, but both the top and bottom come straight out from the face.

They meet at the sharp pointy end of the beak, and both the top and bottom parts are symmetrical.

This kind of beak is also called a softbill. The softbills are useful in plucking out insects from tiny holes or seeds from their stalks.

In contrast, Parakeets have beaks that are shaped like a hook and are not straight. The bottom part is straight and smaller than the stop part.

The top part of the beak slopes down makes a hook-shaped curve that overlies the bottom part of the beak.

This kind of hook-shaped beak helps crush food particles.

Color of the Beaks

The hook-shaped beaks of Parakeets are olive-gray, while softbills of Canaries are pale-yellowish.

Cere of Parakeets

A small ridge of skin fold that lies right above the beaks of Parakeets is called Cere. Cere is the part where the nares of Parakeets open. It connects the eyes to the beak.

The color of Cere helps in the identification of the gender of Parakeets.

The Cere of males is always dark blue and the female is brownish, unless the bird is an albino. Youngs may have a purple cere.

Cere is absent in the Canaries, so the presence of Cere should instantly give away the identity of the bird as Parakeet. 


The feathers around the head and forehead are a single tone of yellow in Parakeets, even though they are usually more colorful overall.

In canaries, the head is yellow to green in color. Yellow becomes more prominent and brighter under the forehead and supercilium.


At first glance, you may think of both the Canaries and Parakeets as the same as they exhibit many color variations.

A slightly close look and the difference in color palette will quickly give away the true identities of these birds.

The canaries usually have a plumage that is all solid yellow to green. Variations can only be noted in terms of tone. Overall, the bird appears quite yellow with a tinge of green.

The rump of Canaries is slightly duller and grey, while dark black streaks can be noticed going from the sides.

The feathers on the underparts of the birds are much paler and almost appear white. Feathers under the tail are also white.

The female Canaries also mostly fit in the same description, except they are greyer around the breast and head. Youngs are usually brown, and they also show dark streaks on the sides.

Parakeets are much more colorful than Canaries. Some Parakeets can show four to five colors as well.

The abdomen and the rump region are light green and appear very bright. The back and the sides of the wings have this beautiful streaks-like pattern.

In between these pitch-black streaks, the bright yellow color of the feathers can be appreciated.

They also have bluish-violet cheek patches. Three black spots are also seen on each side of the throat.

These spots are also called throat patches. These extend up to the bottom of the cheek patch.

The tail feathers are cobalt blue. The feathers under the wings are also black with alternate stripes of yellow.


Legs of Canaries appear bare and pale.

The legs of Parakeets are bluish-grey.

Personality and Behavioral Traits

Let’s now have a look at some of the personality and behavioral traits differences between parakeets and canaries.

Food and Diet

In the wild, canaries look for food in flocks. They usually eat seeds and small plants, and insects. Parakeets also consume grass seeds.

Since seeds contain very little water, they prefer to live near freshwater bodies to meet their nutritional requirements.

As pets, both the birds can eat manufactured seeds and pellets. They can be given seeds and pellets alternatively.

Fresh fruits or vegetables cut into small pieces can also be fed to these birds. Some people even attach a leaf of spinach to the cage for birds to bite on.

Interaction with Humans

Parakeets love to interact with humans and are pretty friendly. They are quick to form a bond with their owners.

Moreover, they also require some time out of their cage daily. It allows Parakeets to get to know their environment and also play with their owners.

They often playfully bite on the fingers of their owners and also sit on their shoulders.

On the other hand, Canaries are not very playful or friendly birds. They usually stay in their cage. It is not necessary to take them out of their cage to train or play.

Parakeets love to get attention so much that they start to call out for their owner if left alone.

In contrast, when the Canaries can be left alone for hours in their cage, they will be unbothered.

Hence, there is a stark distinction in how these two birds socially interact with humans.

Interaction with Other Birds

Parakeets, as mentioned earlier, love to get attention. If their owners cannot spend time with them, they are advised to keep another parakeet in the cage.

Parakeets kept in pairs can live happily together.

However, canaries cannot be kept in a pair as they tend to become territorial and only fight with each other.


The Canaries are songbirds, and they produce songs similar to the silver twittering sounds made by the Goldfinches.

These birds have been bred to produce unique sounds.

They can also be trained to improve the quality of their songs and can also be taught to mimic sometimes.

Parakeets are known for their ability to mimic sounds and produce speech like humans.

They are considered amongst the top five talking champions of parrots’ species.

They can also sing songs and repeat words that they often hear from their owners.

Cage Requirements

Both Canaries and Parakeets require a spacious cage.

They will need separate dishes for water and food. These dishes should be cleaned every day.

A separate dish for bathing must also be kept in the cage. Small twigs should be used to decorate the cage.

A small mirror can be placed in the cage for Parakeets as they get amused by their reflection while the canaries get annoyed by it.


On average, canaries live for 10 to 15 years, while the average lifespan of Parakeets ranges from 5 to 10 years.

Final Thoughts

Parakeets and Canaries may look quite similar but are different species of parrots.

Both the birds are a popular choice for pets but for different reasons.

Hopefully, now you can understand the difference between the two, and you will know which bird to keep as a pet if you ever wish to.

Keep watching this space for more informational blogs and bird-watching guides. 

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