serinus tristiatus 20101217 1920608501  

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Brown-rumped canary

Crithagra tristriata (Serinus tristriatus)

Geographical distribution and habitat
The Brown-rumped canary is only found on the high plains of the north and the middle of Ethiopia and some parts of northern Somalia and Eritrea. The scientific name is somewhat confusing. Based on the scientific name, there would be three stripes ('tri strié' = three stripes) although only two striking light-colored eyebrow stripes can be seen. Natural habitat of Crithagra tristriata are scarce wooded, moist and rocky areas. It is noted that juniper-like plants grow on these African high plains. Little is known about the diet in nature. Brown-rumped canaries would eat seeds of herbs. Photographs have been published showing that the birds eat chickweed (Stellaria subspecies). It is mentioned that, unlike most Serin birds, these birds usually stay low to the ground. The nests are found in April and October in their natural habitat.

Size: 13 cm (5.1 inch)

Description and subspecies

Male and female are equal in color and markings. On pictures, some differences in size, brightness (more white), length of supercilium and markings on the throat can be seen. Also, there are pictures published of more dark grey and brown-grey birds of Crithagra tristriata. Males would overall have a more white throat area. Although Clements Checklist 2010 does not give any subspecies, there is some mention of a subspecies C. tristriata pallidior that can be found in Somalia. This variety is described as more grey and overall more pale of color. Like other Crithagra species, juvenile birds show more striping on the back (mantle) and on the chest.

The name of Brown-rumped canary corresponds to the brown-grey color on the wings, the brown-grey rump and top-tail coverts. This Crithagra species is not often imported and therefore less known in aviculture. The Brown-rumped canary can be confused with Crithagra reichardi (Reichard's Seedeater), however, the eyebrow stripe is less bright white and these stripes form a band at Reichard's Seedeater. The Streaky-headed seedeater (Crithagra gularis) also resembles the Brown-rumped canary at first sight, however, this species has a slight streaking on the forehead. The distribution areas of C. tristriata, C. gularis and C. reichardi are far apart from each other and there are no overlaps.




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