Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Black-faced Canary (Crithagra capistrata)


French: Serin à masque noir German: Zügelgirlitz Spanish: Serín carinegro

Crithagra capistrata


, 1870,

Golungo Alto, 1800–2800 feet [c. 550–850 m], Angola


Has in the past been treated as conspecific with C. koliensis. Birds from E Angola (Calunda, in E Moxico) proposed as race martinsi of a broader C. citrinelloides, but known only from type specimen, and the name is now believed to be synonym of nominate race of present species#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. capistrata Finsch, 1870 – C & SW Gabon and S Congo E, discontinuously, to E DRCongo and W Burundi and S, very locally, to N Angola, SE DRCongo and N Zambia.
  • C. c. hildegardae (Rand & Traylor, 1959) – WC Angola.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm. Small finch with short stubby bill and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race has lower forehead to lores, around eye, fore ear-coverts and cheek to chin... read more


    Song, given for prolonged periods from prominent songpost, a jumbled series of high-pitched phrases... read more


    Edges and clearings in moist evergreen primary and secondary forests, marshes, swamps and edges of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Generally little known. Food mostly grass and plant seeds. Forages on ground and at seedheads of tall grasses. In small flocks; often... read more


    Poorly known. Season Dec–Mar and Apr–Jun. One nest described, built by female, accompanied by male, made mostly from grasses... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon or locally common.

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2018). Black-faced Canary (Crithagra capistrata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 March 2018).