Ask Lafeber


November 2, 2022

Red factor canary is a bully 😳

I have a red factor canary and two zebra Finches, yesterday the canary attacked and killed one of the zebra Finches and was being aggressive towards the other, I have separated the two now, why would the canary do this, they have been living together in a very large cage and all peaceful the it suddenly changed 😢


Hi Martine,

When you try to mix species of birds, it often does not work out. While canaries are a type of finch, they have different temperaments from the zebra finches. Zebra finches tend to be very passive except when breeding, and then they can get territorial. They can also be aggressive towards each other. But a canary is so much larger, they can easily overpower a zebra finch. As to why it turned on the other birds, hormones likely were the reason. It’s never a good idea to have an odd number of birds together. The canary may have gotten tired of being the odd bird out. If you had nests in the cage, this will always cause fighting when you have more than one pair of birds in a cage. They only need a nest if you are breeding them, and you can only have one pair of birds in a cage for breeding. With or without nests, they got along OK until hormones kicked in. The zebra pair may have even started the fighting because they wanted to nest. I would not try to have these birds together again. You can get the zebra a new mate, or even add a mate and another pair, but do not give them any nests. The canary needs to be kept separate and ideally you should get it a mate or another canary of the same sex to have as a companion.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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