Sunshine's Aviary

Red Factor-Melanin (Bronze)

Red Factor


These are examples, from our aviary, of Red Factor-Melanin canaries. For short I refer to them as Bronze. These canaries show the ground red lipochrome and the dark melanin striations. The Melanin is the brown and black pigment. The top picture shows a soft-feathered (frosted) female and the hard-feathered (intensive) male. The white tips of the feathers gives her the "frosted" appearance. In the case of frost, the lipochrome red color does not go to the end of the feather tip. The amount of frosting varies from canary to canary. The fourth picture shows the underside of this frosted canary. The frosted look is quite beautiful. The bottom two pictures show intensive birds.

For comparison, you can see that in the second picture I show a clear Red Factor canary. He exhibits no melanin, and is called "clear". More information about the clear red-factor canaries can be found here.


In addition to the genetic component, coloring foods must be supplied to effectively intensify this red color. In nature, the birds eat various compounds which are absorbed by the red genes and produce the bright red plumage. The natural compound which produces the red color is beta carotene which is found in vegetables like carrots, several varieties of grass seeds, paprika, and dark vegetables like red peppers. However, this is not intense enough to develop maximum coloring and breeders use synthetic agents to maximize the color. The most popular coloring agent is Canthanxanthin, which can be fed via nestling food or other soft foods or dissolved in water.

Our Philosophy & Practice at Sunshine's Aviary:


We do not cross a red factor-melanin with anything except another red factor-melanin. We intend to keep the purity of the line and you will not find strange wild genes in these birds. If you intend to breed the birds you get from us, as long as you find another pure-bred bronze, you will not get a yellow bird, or a mutant with white feathers, etc. We are proud to have a red factor bronze family that excels in beauty and quality. We strive to increase the darkness of the beak and legs and ensure that our birds are bred properly. We breed hard feather to soft feather and have a proven line of beautiful birds where we know the genetic purity of the line. If you would like a breeding pair, please inquire early in the season while we have males and females from two lines of these birds.


Red factor genes will not exhibit unless the canary is fed the necessary red pigments. Therefore, we color feed all our red and bronze canaries with a high quality mixture of Bogena Intensif and Canthanxanthin. We use the minimum amount required to achieve even coloring, and we color-feed year long, with occasional brief breaks. To raise the healthiest canaries we also continue to feed dark green vegetables, even while the canaries are molting. These vegetables contain xanthophyll, which compete with the red pigments we feed them. We know that our birds could be of a darker red shade if we eliminated xanthophyll from the diet (also present in certain seeds). However, we prefer to raise healthy canaries than to compromise nutrition for several weeks, in order to achieve a darker shade of red.