Why Do Canaries Stop Singing?

Updated November 21, 2016

Canaries are a favourite songbird for the first time bird owner. They are a shy, solitary bird that requires little maintenance to thrive. A bird's silence can be caused by gender or health issues, so learning proper care and nutrition will help you recognise abnormal behaviours and symptoms that can indicate disease or injury. There are four common reasons for a silent canary.

Adjusting to a New Environment

Your canary needs time to adjust to his surroundings. He may sing early in the morning and not at all during the day, or he may not sing for a while. Your canary will need two to three weeks to adjust to his surroundings. To help him adjust to his new home, make sure he has a roomy cage in a well lit and draft-free room with access to fresh water and high-quality food. Look for Canary Seed--food that is specifically designed for canaries. Supplement that with treats that will provide extra vitamins and protein, such as boiled eggs, fruits and vegetables.

Females Versus Males

Female canaries, or hens, usually stop singing after their first moult. Hens that do sing cannot produce the same range of notes as males, but will learn to mimic the sounds produced by the male. Because of this, hens are often mistakenly sold as male. It can be difficult to tell a male from a female by physical examination, so buy your canary from a breeder and ask for a guarantee that the canary is male.


Moulting is the process of losing and regrowing feathers, which usually occurs in summer. Canaries will stop singing during the two month period they conserve energy for regrowing feathers. Moulting can occasionally occur more than once a year or at different times from year to year. Moulting usually is triggered by an increase in light. To keep your canary's internal clock running smoothly, make sure you cover his cage with a cotton blanket from dusk until dawn.

Health Considerations

If your canary goes silent when he's not moulting, it could be a sign of poor health. A poor diet, too much or too little weight, parasites and respiratory infections may cause your canary to stop singing. He may be in pain and so go silent. If your canary's toenails are too long, perching can cause him pain, and seizures or panicky flight can cause injuries. Observe your canary to see if he is eating and drinking. Sluggish flying or no flying, are signs of ill health. A sick canary will huddle on the floor with puffed feathers to preserve warmth. If you see signs that indicate your canary may be ill, take him to a veterinarian.

Other Possible Causes

If your male canary is healthy, try playing classical music or bird sounds to encourage him to sing. Your canary may be a youngster. Be patient and he will begin singing at nine months. Make sure you buy an older bird if you prefer not to wait. Don't place a companion in your canary's cage; two males will fight instead of singing. A male and female may sing for a while, then settle down for nesting.

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