Serinus scotops  

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Forest canary

Crithagra scotops (Serinus scotops)

Geographical distribution and habitat
The Forest canary is  a bird that can be found in the south and eastern parts of the Cape Province (South Africa). In search of food (including fruits) the birds migrate from one area to another. Crithagra scotops can be found on the edges and in the dense, evergreen and humid forests of mountainous areas. But is also seen in gardens, parks and maize plantations. This serin is also looking for seeds on the ground and low vegetation. They are seen eating leaf and fruit buds. As indicated; fruits are also on the menu. The nests are found in the period from September-May, depending on the region and the local availability of food. Usually two to four young per nest. Moulting would be during the period of June-October. In their natural habitat this species will be noticed earlier by the song than they will be seen.

Size: 13-14 cm (5.1-5.5 Inch)

Description and subspecies
Sexes differ in some parts:
-The male has a bright yellow and larger eyebrow, yellow spot on the throat and a darker mask.
-The female is (more) striped on the throat, chest and in the flanks and paler greenish yellow on the underparts. The eyebrow stripe of the female is less pronounced and shorter.

In addition to the nominative form, two subspecies are described:
-C. s. scotops; Transkei, Natal and Lesotho
-C. s. transvaalensis; Transvaal and Swaziland (more streaked and more black)
-C. s. umbrosa; southeast of the Cape Province

The forest canary has always been quite rare in aviculture. There are no confusing serin species because of the special pattern on the head: yellow eyebrow, black chin spot, yellow throat spot and a rather large beak. Crithagra scotops, based on avicultural experiences, are not considered as one of the most friendly serin species. Reporting of breeding results were made in Germany, in the years 1980/1981. Besides millet, these birds will also eat rapeseed, canary seed and some larger seeds. Fruits and berries can also be on the menu. The males are described as good singers. The courtship ritual by the male takes place with an erect head and feathers, while he moves his body sideways to the left and to the right.




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