What Do Canaries Eat?
What Do Birds Eat

What Do Canaries Eat? Amazing Facts About Canary Eating Habits

Are you curious about what do canaries eat? As a bird expert, I’m here to answer all your questions. These feathered friends have long been popular as pet birds and their diet is the key to keeping them happy and healthy.

Canaries require special diets that are specific to their species and their natural habitat. In this article, I’ll share all you need to know about what do canaries eat, where they get their food from, what type of food is best for them, and more. From learning about the typical eating habits of these birds to understanding the general nutrition requirements of canaries, let’s explore this interesting topic together.

Overview of a Canary’s Food Sources

As an ornithologist, I can provide you with an overview of a canary’s food sources. Canaries are seed eaters, and their diet should consist of various types of grass seeds. However, to ensure a balanced diet for your pet bird it is important to supplement them with fresh fruits, vegetables, and a protein source.

One type of seed that is especially beneficial for canaries is “canary seed“, which consists of 87 percent raw protein and contains the enzyme lipase. Not only is this far higher than the 5 percent raw protein found in grains like wheat, but it actually contains as much protein as meat.

In addition to providing essential proteins to help support healthy feather growth, canary seed also provides essential lipids and essential fatty acids that help keep your bird’s skin and feathers healthy and shiny.

What Do Canaries Eat?

As granivores, canaries need to be fed a diet that is mainly composed of seeds and grains. A high quality canary seed or pelleted diet should make up about 70% of their diet. This should be supplemented with green food such as lettuce, dandelion leaves and nasturtium leaves, as well as other fresh fruits and vegetables. A few millet sprays can also be offered occasionally as a treat.

Canaries drink water daily, but they don’t require milk. However, if your pet seems to like it and doesn’t experience digestive issues when drinking it, you can offer them a few drops of warm goat’s or cow’s milk to drink every few days.

In their regular daily diet, canaries also benefit from being provided with natural items from outside such as tree bark, pieces of pine cones or other objects which can provide them with vital mental stimulation to keep them entertained and active.

What Shouldn’t Be Included in a Canary’s Diet

Just like with humans, there are certain things canaries shouldn’t eat. Some of the items on this list should come as no surprise, but others may surprise you.

No Chocolate

Giving your canary chocolate is a definite no-no. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to birds, and therefore should never be offered to them.

Avoid Onion and Avocado

Onion and avocado should also not be fed to canaries—both are potentially toxic.

Watch Out For Lettuce

Iceberg or head lettuce and celery offer little nutritional value and can cause problems for your bird if too much is ingested. Instead, opt for dark leafy greens like kale or romaine lettuce.

Canaries are naturally attracted to sweet fruits like apples, but only feed them in moderation as too much of even these healthy fruits can cause weight gain. Finally, be sure to remove any uneaten food from your bird’s cage at the end of the day to prevent it from spoiling.

Nutritional Requirements of Canaries

As an owner of a pet canary, it’s important to understand what your bird needs in order to thrive. The average canary needs 1-2 teaspoons of a combination of pelleted diet and seeds per day. In addition, they require 19.67 Kcal/day in order to stay healthy and energetic.

Canaries benefit from a supply of green food items in their diet such as kale, spinach, or lettuce. These nutrient-rich veggies provide the bird with essential vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy. Other vegetables such as peas, corn, and carrots are also enjoyed by these colorful birds. In addition to vegetables, canaries also enjoy fruit such as apples, oranges and bananas for a special treat.

Finally, it’s important to provide enough calcium for your canary. This can be sourced from hard-boiled eggs, crushed oyster shells or calcium supplements provided by your vet if needed.

Recommended Foods for Canaries Birds

When it comes to the well-being of your avian friends, diet is absolutely essential – and that’s especially true for canaries. In nature, canaries eat a variety of fruits, seeds, and vegetation, so to ensure your canary is getting a balanced diet you should strive to provide a similar variety in his/her cage.

Here are some great food options for your pet canary:

  • Fruits & Vegetables: Apples, strawberries, bananas, and parsley are all great choices that are packed with vitamins and minerals. You can also supplement their diet with green food such as lettuce and dandelion leaves.
  • Seeds: Canaries enjoy many different seeds including millet seed and Niger seed (also known as thistle seed). You should also offer some flax seed on occasion to ensure the canary gets enough Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cuttlebone: Cuttlebone is an absolute must for your pet bird’s diet! Not only does it help keep their beaks clean, but it’s also packed with calcium – an essential nutrient for bone health.

All in all, a canary’s diet should consist of seeds (such as millet), fruits & vegetables (apples & bananas) along with cuttle bone. These foods will keep them full of energy – and with plenty of vocalizations!

Feeding Canaries Birds Different Types of Seeds

Canaries are primarily seed-eaters, so it should come as no surprise that they are incredibly fond of seeds. The two most common types of seed for canaries include sunflower, safflower, millet, peanuts, and cracked corn. Canary seed also comes in two types: itchy (also known as black oil sunflower) and hairless (canary grass). Canary grass is a plant native to the Mediterranean region which is often sold as a birdseed mix for pet canaries.

On top of these common types of seeds, there are some special treats that can be fed to canaries from time to time. Fruits like apples, pears and oranges cut into small pieces make great snacks for your feathered friends. You can also give them green vegetables like carrots or broccoli. Canaries also love mealworms, which are excellent sources of protein and calcium – just make sure you feed them in moderation.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of fresh water! Even though they primarily eat seeds, canary birds still need clean water every day to stay hydrated and healthy.

Treats and Snacks Ideal for Canaries Bird

Canaries enjoy a variety of treats and snacks, in addition to their regular diet. Here are some tips for providing your canary with a delicious and nutritious snack:


Fresh greens, like broccoli, romaine, lettuce and kale are perfect for canaries – the nutrition-packed leaves provide a great source of vitamins A, B, C and calcium. If your bird likes them – why not try some other greens like dandelion or baby spinach?


Fruit is an ideal treat for canaries. Apples, bananas and oranges are all good choices. Make sure to remove the seeds before feeding these fruits to your bird.


Insects are an important part of a canary’s diet. Crickets are the most popular choice, but mealworms or waxworms also make great treats – just be sure to offer them in moderation.


In the wild, canaries eat a variety of seeds including grass seeds offering millet spray is a great way to treat your feathered friend – it’s also rich in protein and calcium which are essential nutrients for healthy birds. Provide this type of seed sparingly as too much could make your bird overweight.


When it comes to understanding the canary’s eating habits, there are some commonly asked questions.

Can Canaries Drink Milk?

No, canaries cannot digest milk, and so it should not be given to them.

Can They Eat Mint Leaves?

Yes! In fact, mint is a great source of vitamin A and calcium, so it should be included in their diet in small amounts.

What Do Canary Hatchlings Eat?

Hatchlings require a diet of special foods such as soft-bill food meant for canary chicks. The diet should include a mix of high-quality proteins and fats (such as egg and fish) as well as carbohydrates (such as grains).

What Do Other Bird Eat Besides Canaries?

Other popular pet birds such as Blue Jays, Robins, Cardinals, Pelican, and Canary Winged Parakeets all have different dietary requirements. Blue Jays are omnivores who enjoy grubs and fruits; Robins feed mostly on worms and other invertebrates; Cardinals prefer seeds; Pelicans eat fish; while Canary Winged Parakeets thrive on seeds, fruits and vegetables.


In conclusion, canaries are truly a unique and fascinating species of bird, and their diet is just one of the many aspects that make them so special. Canaries are omnivorous and primarily eat a diverse range of seeds, greens, fruits, and insects. Moreover, they benefit from occasional treats such as mealworms, hard-boiled eggs, and occasional servings of applesauce. It’s important to know what not to feed canaries, as some types of food can be toxic to them. As long as they are eating a balanced diet, canaries generally thrive and bring joy to those who own them. With careful observation, one can tell if their canary is happy, healthy, and well-nourished.

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