Crithagra symonsi (Serinus symonsi)
Geographical distribution and habitat
A species named after the Drakensbergen, a mountain range in the East of the Republic of South-Africa. The rough and rather high mountain range is a separation between the current Lesotho (previously Basutoland) and the highlands from what was called Natal before. The Drakensberg Siskin is a unobtrusive and shy bird, which lives at the slopes and valleys of the mountains. There are reports that this siskin lives on seeds, buds and insects, but less than other several Crithagra species, and nearly always searches for food near or at the surface. It is assumed that this species principally feeds her chicks with insects. Nests were found in openings in the rocks or in low rough bushes near the surface. In Lesotho nests were found in November to January.
Size: 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 inches)
Description and subspecies
The Drakensberg Siskin male can be confused with the Cape Siskin (Crithagra totta). Also the females of C. symonsi and C. totta are very similar. The Drakensberg Siskin male is slightly paler in colour then the male Cape Siskin. The female C.symonsi is paler in color then the male and more greybrown. Females show a slight striping on the throat and at the top of the breast. No subspecies.
The Drakensberg Siskin has rarely been imported, as far as it is known. Regarding the care and breeding of these birds in West-Europe, no reports are known within the ESSB.