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Budgie parakeets > Cage birds > European Goldfinch
Next to the canary this may be considered the most popular cage bird and especially is this the case in all parts of Europe. There is considerable difference of opinion among the English bird fanciers as to whether the canary or his rival, the goldfinch, is the better single, but it must be unanimously allowed that the goldfinch excels in beauty of plumage and he is a remarkably docile and clever bird.
The goldfinch is a native of England and almost all parts of Europe. During the summer they resort to gardens and fields, especially in the mountainous districts; here they remain until late in the fall. They are quite easily trapped and many thousands of them are kept in cages where they frequently live from 15 to 20 years or longer. These birds have been imported and naturalized in Cuba and Africa.
The front of the head is of a most vivid scarlet and a broad margin of similar color surrounds the base of the beak, a black stripe passing around the back of the head and down on each side of the neck, in front of which there is a white spot; the neck and back are of a beautiful brown, the feathers of the wing and tail being of velvety black with whitish tips and having a bright golden stripe about an inch long on the wings. The female bird is smaller and not as handsome, and but very few are brought to this country.
The Goldfinch is a beautiful, animated bird, whose body is in almost incessant motion. Its song is agreeable but does not contain as great a variety of notes as the canary. They are readily taught many cute tricks, such as climbing a ladder, eating hemp seed from the mouth or hand, firing a miniature cannon, running a tread mill, feigning death, etc.
They are more easily trained than almost any small bird that we know of. They are sought more for their beauty in the aviary and for mating with female canaries than for any other purpose, and no one can have a nice aviary without at least one goldfinch. They sing throughout the year except during the molting season.
There are several other varieties of goldfinches besides the one which we have described, but it is the most prominent.