Serinus atrogularis  

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Black-throated Canary

Crithagra atrogularis (Serinus atrogularis)

Geographical distribution and habitat

This Crithagra species has a rather large range, starting from the South coast to the West coast of South-Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania. These grey singers live in diverse areas. From the grasslands, the thornbush grown savannas, to cultured areas and park-like landscapes. In very dry areas they can be found near rivers that cross these areas. They search for grass and weedseeds at the surface as well as in bushes and trees. Flying termits are caught in the air. It has also been seen in the wild that they search for aphids.

Size: 11-12 cm (4.3-4.7 inch)

Description and subspecies

No sex difference in drawing or colour. The huge area where they live, explains the number of subspecies and number of colour differences. C.a.somereni is a subspecies with the most black on the throat and some more brown on the back. In this subspecies, males show a clearly more black throat mark then females do, males also are more bright in colour and design. Comparing birds of the same age and area, the female shows always, allegedly, less bright black on the throat.


Crithagra reichenowi (Reichenows Seedeater) and Crithagra xanthopygia (Yellow-rumped Seedeater) can be confused with Crithagra altrogularis, because all three have a yellow rump and are around the same size. In both the Reichenows Seedeater and the Yellow-rumped Seedeater,  the black throat markings are missing. The Black-throated canary shows, depending of the subspecies, on the head and surface significantly more black-or greywhite markings. Several subspecies are described. As soon as the birds are ready for mating, they follow each other, flying like butterflies, so that the yellow rump is prominent. Nests in the wild are found from September to May, with a climax in January. Mostly three eggs are laid in the nest. The upper beak of adult birds is often darker coloured then the lower beak.



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