Serinus frontalis  

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Western Citril

Crithagra frontalis (Serinus frontalis)

Geographical distribution and habitat
Crithagra frontalis is found in parts of Uganda and Kenya, the West of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the northeast of Tanzania. These birds can be found in open areas in the highlands, where they feed on herbaceous plants, with seeds they get out of the spikelets and buds, on the same way as we know of our Goldfinches and Siskins. Apart from the breeding period, the Western citril lives in small groups. Males of the Western citril in breeding condition, were seen in November and December in former Zaire, now belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But in other parts of its habitat also in June. So it can be concluded that the breeding period in nature is region-dependent and is likely to coincide with the rainy season and the associated food supply in this season. Nests in nature are made of dry leaves, brown materials on the outside and finished with more white materials in the inside.

Size: 11-12 cm (4.3-4.7 inch)

Description and subspecies
Sexes differ, the adult males have a sharply marked black face mask and a bright yellow U-shaped forehead that goes far beyond the eyes. The females also have this yellow band on the forehead, but are overall paler in color and lacks a black mask. Most confusing species could be Crithagra capistrata although this species is very rare in European aviculture. There are no subspecies.

According to the "Checklist" of James F. Clements for the classification of the Serin species, Crithagra frontalis is listed as a species and has no subspecies. In other books, the Western citril is listed as a subspecies of Crithagra citrinelloides (African citril) which, depending on the subspecies, has a more greyish / black mask. Usually the African citril and subspecies, lacks the extensive bright yellow band over the forehead joining the supercilium that is so typical for the Western citril. The scientific name also refers to this characteristic headline. There are some breeding results known in aviculture. For the conservation of this species in aviculture we need a well-documented pedigree and administration of these birds.



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