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Atlantic (Island) Canary

Chris Packham presents the Atlantic canary, singing in the Tenerife treetops.

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Chris Packham presents the Atlantic canary singing in the Tenerife treetops. The ancestor of our cage-bird canaries is the Island or Atlantic Canary, a finch which is native to the Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands which include Tenerife. The Canary Islands were named by early travellers "the islands of dogs from 'canis', the Latin for dogs, because of the many large dogs reputedly found there. And so the common and popular song-bird which is now a symbol of the islands became known as the canary. Unlike their domestic siblings, wild Island canaries are streaky, greenish yellow finches: males have golden- yellow foreheads, females a head of more subtle ash-grey tone. But it's the song, a pulsating series of vibrant whistles, trills and tinkling sounds; that has made the canary so popular. They were almost compulsory in Victorian and Edwardian parlours; a far cry from the sunny palm -fringed beaches of the Atlantic islands.

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2 minutes

Last on

Tue 5 Jan 2016 05:58

Atlantic (or Island) Canary (Serinus canaria)

Webpage image courtesy of Wild Wonders of Europe Relanzon /

NPL Ref 01257843 © Wild Wonders of Europe Relanzon /

Recording of island canary by Andrea L Priori / Ref: ML 79093

This programme contains a wildtrack recording of the island canary kindly provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; recorded by Andrea L Priori on 2 Jul 1992 , in Tompkins County, New York, USA.


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