Vaalnest Reviews the Last Bird for 2015, meet the Canary, Black-throated.

Posted by Collen on Tue December 22, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The black-throated canary (Crithagra atrogularis), also known as the yellow-rumped seedeater, is a species of finch in the Fringillidae family.

It is found frequently in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, dry savanna, and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland. The black-throated canary was formerly placed in the genus Serinus but phylogenetic analysis using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences found that the genus was polyphyletic. The genus was therefore split and a number of species including the black-throated canary were moved to the resurrected genus Crithagra.

The Latin name for this bird is Serinus atrogularis in the Roberts 6th Edition. The Black-throated Canary is known in Afrikaans as Bergkanarie. Here are a few features to lookout for when spotting the small beautifull bird:

  • The Black-throated Canary has a height of 12 cms and weighs around 13 gms.
  • The head is coloured black, brown while the bill is coloured pink.
  • The Crithagra atrogularis has a white coloured throat, pink legs and a black, white coloured back.
  • The eyes are brown. The male Crithagra atrogularis has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.
  • Head is black, and slightly brown
  • Eyes are also brown
  • The Bill is pink
  • The small thin Legs are pink
  • Throat is white
  • Back is black, with shades of white

 Feeding Habits
This bird forages for food on the ground The Black-throated Canary is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage The Crithagra atrogularis attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten The Crithagra atrogularis forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits
The Black-throated Canary is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured blue. The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage. The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season. The Black-throated Canary is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees. The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds. The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and stream. This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests








BirdLife International (2013). "Serinus atrogularis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.

Zuccon, Dario; Prŷs-Jones, Robert; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Ericson, Per G.P. (2012). "The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of finches (Fringillidae)" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62 (2): 581–596. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.10.002.

Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

Swainson, William (1827). "On several forms in ornithology not hitherto defined". Zoological Journal 3: 348.



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