Canary (Serinus canarius), a well-known species of passerine bird, belonging go the family Fringillidae or finches. It is a native of the Canary Islands and Madeira, where it occurs abundantly in the wild state, and is of a grayish-brown colour, slightly varied with bright hues, although never attaining the beautiful plumage of the domestic bird.
Hybrids are also common, the canary breeding freely with the siskin, goldfinch, citril, greenfinch and linnet. The hybrids thus produced are almost invariably sterile. It is the female canary which is almost invariably employed in the crossing, as it is difficult to get the females of the allied species to sit on the artificial nest used by breeders. IN the state of nature canaries pair, but under domestication the male bird has been rendered polygamous, being often put with four or five females; still he is said to show a distinct preference of the female with which he first mated. It is from the others, however, that the best birds are usually obtained.
Reference source: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
The canary is very prolific, producing eggs, not exceeding six in number, three or four times a year; and in a state of nature it is said to breed still oftener. The work of building the nest, and of incubation, falls chiefly on the female, while the duty of feeding the young rests mainly on the cock bird.
The natural song of the canary is loud and clear; and in their native groves the males, especially during the pairing season, pour forth their song with such ardour as sometimes to burst the delicate vessels of the throat.
The males appear to compete with each other in the brilliancy of their melody, in order to attract the females, which , according to the German naturalist Johann Matthaus Bechstein (1757-1822) always select the best singers for their mates. The canary readily imitates the notes of other birds, and in Germany and especially Tiral, where the breeding of canaries gives employment to the large number of people, they are usually placed for this purpose beside the nightingale.