Brimstone canary, Bully seedeater
Crithagra sulphurata (Serinus sulphuratus)
Geographical distribution and habitat
The Brimstone canary can be found in South Africa and some more northern African countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. Crithagra sulphurata is also found in the region of Angola in West Africa. The distance between the extremes of the distribution area is thousands of kilometers. Characteristic of the habitat of the Brimstone canary is an open terrain with scattered vegetation and the presence of water, like rivers and lakes. These birds are also seen in cultivated areas. Observations of this Crithagra species in their natural habitat indicate that they live on flower and leaf buds, flowers, seeds, grains and unripe legumes. There are also notations that they like to eat fruits. Flying termites are also on the menu. Nesting period varies from area to area.
Size: 15-16 cm (5.9-6.3 Inch)
Description and subspecies
Over the years, in aviculture, there has been a lot of interbreeding of subspecies of these birds.
There are remarkable differences in color in subspecies, these color differences are less noticeable in these interbred birds.
If we compare two birds of the same subspecies, the male would be just a little more intense in color than the female, in particular the supercilium and the wing bands. The beard stripes of the male are more pronounced and with more contrast.
-Crithagra sulphurata sulphurata (nominate) is found in the south and southeast of the Cape Province. This is the largest of all and has a yellow throat spot and olive green color on the chest.
-C. s. wilsoni lives in the west of the Cape Province and is also seen in Orange Free State, Natal, Transvaal and southern Mozambique. The differences compared to C. s. sulphurata would be: somewhat smaller, more yellowish than green with a less pronounced spot of the throat. In terms of the size of the beak; there would be no difference between C. s. sulphurata and C. s. wilsoni.
-C. s. sharpii, is the smallest in all respects and is found in the east of Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Zimbabwe and also Angola. This subspecies is the most yellow-green in color on the chest, has only a vague throat spot and less defined beard stripes. The beak of this subspecies is less voluminous than the nominate. According to Clements Checklist, the former subspecies shelleyi and frommi are no longer considered as subspecies of Crithagra sulphurata.
When they are not in breeding condition, these birds are not aggressive, despite of their rather large bill. But in breeding condition the behaviour can change. Be prepared for this change of behaviour and keep these birds only in pairs, during the breeding season. To get these birds in a good condition for breeding, they need at least 14 hours of light per day and they prefer a temperature of at least 15 ° C, although they will tolerate lower temperatures. These Brimstone canaries use regular nests and nesting materials that are also suited for canaries. We would suggest to keep them on a diet of seeds for European birds and canaries, egg food, leaf green, buds of trees and shrubs, berries and fruit. Live and frozen insects during breeding, preferably several times a day. In comparison with the color of the chest, with the male Yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) the Brimstone canary is not yellow but light to dark green in color. The Yellow canary are smaller and slightly slimmer, even compared with the smallest Brimstone subspecies, C.s. sharpii. The beak is clearly smaller. Crithagra sulphurata will always be recognizable by the pronounced beak.