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The London Fancy Canary or an extinct Canary will be back soon...

At first glance one could suspect that the bird was “only” a

black wingmarked Canary. This assumption is incorrect.

The London Fancy Canary was a special mutation.

What are the special features of the London Fancy Canary?

- a clear deep yellow body - black wings - black tail - black toenails - dark legs and feet - dark beak  

The description of the London Fancy Canary

from an original Cigarette or Trade Card by

John Player & Son is: 

                AVIARY AND CAGE BIRDS                                [No.] 13                 LONDON FANCY CANARY This old favourite is a very attractive little Canary. It is a good singer and its lively nature makes it a delightfull cage or aviary bird. The dark feathers should be very dark green-black, contrasting well with the rich yellow. Beak, legs and feet are also dark, and spangled feathers generally appear on the back; the ideal, however, is perfectly clear plumage all over the body. Give the best Spanish canary seed as staple food, with a little millet, red rape seed, and millet sprays. Green foods are necessary (see card 11), also grit, and occasionally cuttlefishbone; fresh water should be given daily for drinking, and twice weekly for bathing. ISSUED BY JOHN PLAYER & SONS, BRANCH OF THE IMPERIAL TOBACCO CO OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND LTD. [issued in 1935]
Unfortunately the precise origin of the London Fancy Canary has not been documented. It is believed that the history of the London Fancy Canary goes back to the middle of the eightteenth century. About the genetic of the London Fancy Canary is no known because the breeder during this time had no knowledge of genetics and were merely stating matters of fact. Most of facts we known are oral or written history. Because of the historical documents it can be said with certainty that the London Fancy Canary is derived from the same origin as the Lizard Canary. That means that one mutation of a canary was the base for the Lizard Canary and the London Fancy Canary. The golden age of the London Fancy Canary was in the middle of the ninetheenth century. Some years later the number of breeder dwindled. The reason for this is also unknown. It is claimed that inbreeding, outcrossing with other breeds and also the difficulty of producing a sufficient number of exhibition birds are some reasons for this fact. Until the end only birds could be seen, which were no longer similarly to the old descriptions

Is a rebirth of the London Fancy Canary possible?

The fact of the matter is that many breeders and special clubs try to breeding this mutation back. Without knowing the exact genetic facts is this very difficult. The relationship of the Lizard is known. One reason for the fact that most breeders are working with Lizard Canaries, while other breeders use the outcrossing with Siskins and hybrids. But the expenditure of time to get the London Fancy Canary back is it all worth.

What are the arguments for a relationship of the LONDON FANCY CANARY with the LIZARD?

1. Most historical documents speak of a relationship with the Lizard Canary. 2. As a nestling the London Fancy Canary was like the Lizard an ordinary looking self green bird. 3. As a young bird most of the London Fancy Canary had the typical cap of a Lizard Canary, which disappears after the moult. 4. The London Fancy Canary was like the Lizard Canary an annual exhibition bird because of the same unstable character of the plumage, which will changed after the first moult.  
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