Lizard Canary

They need no fancy mixed foods ; hence their popularity with amateur bird keepers. The WILD SERIN (upper left) is a common European cousin of the wild canary of the Azores, Aladeiras, and Canary Islands, from which has been developed the hardy domestic pet. The NORWICH YELLOW (bottom center) and the NORWICH GREEN (lower right) are two color phases of one of the most abundant types of canary in captivity. Of spotless plumage, the WHITE CANARY (upper right) perches diagonally above the handsome CINNAMON, distinguished by pink or reddish-brown eves. The GOLD LIZARD (lower left) is bred for perfection of color pattern.

By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine

This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004

The lizard canary is a most handsome variety in its bold, regular pattern and contrasting colors. The gold lizard has the body color yellow (Plate I), while in the silver lizard this is silvery gray. The crown in purebred birds is light in color without spots, and the wings and tail are black.

Though so attractively marked, these birds long remained rare in the United States and are still rather difficult to obtain. They are among the higher priced varieties. The young at first are plain with a yellow cap, becoming spangled at the first molt. They are at their best in their first year of life, as, when the feathers are renewed at the next molt, the pattern usually becomes less definite and the wing and tail feathers become tipped with white.

A relative is the London fancy canary, which when young is like the lizard, but at the first molt becomes deep yellow or buff, as the case may be, in beautiful contrast to the black wings and tail.

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