Serinus alario (Alario alario)
Geographical distribution and habitat
The Alario Finch lives in dry areas in the south-west (Cape provence) of the Republic of South-Africa. After the breeding season, this bird species migrates through to other parts of that country, included coastal areas. The migration movements are very irregular and birds appear as individuals and in small or large groups. Lives in grasslands with scattered low vegetation. Also to be seen in the neighbourhood from human settlements. Searches for food at or near the surface a.o. seeds from grasses which they can take out of the spikes also.
Size: 13 cm (5.1 inch)
Description and subspecies
Male and female are clearly different in colour because just the male has a black head and a remarkable striping on the chest. Remarkable is also the warm brown color at the back and wings. The female is greybrown and misses every drawing and colour contrast that makes the alario finch male so special. Serinus alario can not be confused with other species. Only Serinus leucoleama (Damara alariofinch) looks like Serinus alario, but the male from Serinus leucoleama seems more strikingly striped and shows more contrast. No subspecies.
In the wild in South-Africa nests usual were found from the moment that plenty food is available. Nests in the wild are found in period october to april with accent at the period march/april. The first and the second nest can be built with long intervals. ( in South-Africa it will be summer when in West-Europe will be winter.) This has to be considered with Alario finch- breeding. Mostly they are bred in heated areas in large breedingcages. The mating dance from the Alario male is impressive and performed with vibrating wings. A busy singer, however less melodious then other near related (Serinus)species. Alario finches belong to the bird species who like to have turnipseed in their main menu.A balanced diet with not too many fat-rich seeds, together with enough space to move, could ensure that these birds don't soon become fat.