Finches and canaries are both very popular pet birds, but there are many differences between them.

If you are trying to make up your mind, it will help to learn about each one. In this article we will explore what makes each of these birds so special.


The physical appearance of the finch is very different from that of the canary. The Atlantic canary can grow up to 4.7 inches long with a maximum weight of a little under an ounce. Finches on the other hand can grow up to 9.4 inches long with a weight of 3 ounces.

Canaries are very small birds that do not require huge cages, while finches can be much larger and therefore need more room. If you are looking for a bird that is easy to handle, a canary is a good choice.

The classic canary most people think of is mostly yellow, but these birds come in a variety of colors. Some of canaries are a mix of blue and white, while others have a green and yellow color scheme.

A finch can have lots of different colors on its feathers, including turquoise, purple, yellow and orange. The Zebra Finch has a mostly grey coloration with some black stripes.

shutterstock 260038532


Both the finch and canary thrive on a mostly pelleted food diet with the occasional fruits and vegetables. There isn’t a whole lot of difference when it comes to what these birds eat. Finches tend to eat a bit more than canaries with each meal due to their being generally larger. Just make sure that that the seed mix you buy is formulated for the type of bird you end up getting. This will help to keep them healthy over the long term.

  Bourke Parakeet Care Guide - Diet, Lifespan & More


The average lifespan of a finch in captivity is around 5 to 9 years, while canaries typically live for at least 10 years.


Canaries definitely have a reputation for their beautiful songs, while finches don’t really sing at all. Male canaries are the ones that do the singing, so you’ll need to keep that in mind before making a decision. These birds are often bred to sing specific songs for the purpose of entering them into competitions. They are very skilled at imitating a variety of sounds, which can be very entertaining at times.

Finches are fairly quiet birds, though they can be quite talkative. They do quite a bit of chirping throughout each day, but they aren’t very loud. This makes finches great birds for those who live in an apartment. You won’t have to worry about getting any noise complaints from frustrated neighbors.

If you want a bird that can belt out beautifully melodic songs, the canary is by far the better choice. In fact, their songs are quite pleasant to wake up to. They are not the best apartment bird though, as they can get fairly loud.


Finches should be kept in a rectangular enclosure that measures at least 24 by 14 by 18 inches with bars that no more than 3/8 inches apart. Their perches need to be about three inches long and about half an inch wide. You should have at least one perch in their cage. You can keep a few of these birds in the same cage without any issues, provided it is large enough. It’s also possible to keep canaries with other birds, provided they are of a similar nature.

  Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot Care Guide & Info

A canary needs to be housed in a cage that is at least 18 by 14 by 18 inches. You can keep these birds together, but do not put two or more males in the same cage. It is important to socialize these birds each day.


The garden variety Finch tends to be very social, which is why it is good to keep them with their own kind. They thrive when surrounded by a few other finches. These birds do well with being handled and definitely enjoy human interaction.

Male canaries are more solitary creatures that tend to do best when they are not with other males. It is not a good idea to handle a canary on a regular basis or for too long, as they can quickly become irritable and skittish.

If you are looking for a bird that you can handle a lot outside of the cage, a finch is the clear choice. Canaries are beautiful birds that are best admired from a distance, especially males.

Natural Habitat

Wild finches are often found in desert grasslands and by streams, as well as coniferous forests with elevations less than 6,000 feet. Canaries tend to make their homes in woodland areas, forest edges, and even sand dunes. They can live in areas up to 5,000 feet above sea level.


Canaries range from $25 to $150, depending on the specific type/mutation. Finches tend to be a bit more affordable, ranging from $10 to $100.


  • Finches tend to be significantly larger than canaries, weighing nearly half an ounce more.
  • While these birds tend to have the same diet, finches typically eat more than canaries due to being larger overall.
  • Canaries tend to live 2-3 years longer than finches on average in captivity.
  • Finches are very chatty but quiet, while canaries sing beautiful songs and can be quite loud at times.
  • Canaries do not typically like being held outside of their cage, while finches enjoy direct contact with their owners.
  • Finches do very well when kept with other birds of the same kind.
  • You can put canaries in the same enclosure, but it needs to be a male and female. Putting multiple males in the same cage can result in some serious bickering.
  • If you are looking for a social bird that you can hold a lot, a finch is the best option.
  • If you are going to get a canary, you will need to admire it from a distance.
  • Finches are slightly more affordable than canaries, but it depends on the specific type.
Was this article helpful?

Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".