Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Black-throated Canary (Crithagra atrogularis)


French: Serin à gorge noire German: Angolagirlitz Spanish: Serín gorjinegro
Other common names: Black-throated Seedeater

Linaria atrogularis

A. Smith

, 1836,

around Kurrichane (Zeerust), North West Province, South Africa


In past considered conspecific with both C. reichenowi and C. xanthopygia. Relationships with C. leucopygia unclear; previously treated as conspecific with C. rothschildi. Race somereni tentatively recognized, but morphological and vocal differences from nominate not well established; further study desirable. Birds from SW Zambia (Chunga Pool, in Sesheke) with cinnamon-buff tinge on underparts described as race seshekeensis, but differences from semideserti considered minimal. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. somereni (E. J. O. Hartert, 1912) – NE DRCongo, C, SW & SE Uganda, W Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and NW Tanzania.
  • C. a. lwenarum (C. M. N. White, 1944) – SE Gabon, S Congo, C & S DRCongo, C Angola, N & C Zambia and SW Tanzania.
  • C. a. semideserti (Roberts, 1932) – S & E Angola and SW Zambia S to NE Namibia, N Botswana, W Zimbabwe and N South Africa (NW Limpopo).
  • C. a. deserti (Reichenow, 1918) – SW Angola S to S Namibia and W South Africa (Northern Cape and North West Province).
  • C. a. atrogularis (A. Smith, 1836) – Zimbabwe (except W), SE Botswana and N South Africa (SW Limpopo).
  • C. a. impigra (Clancey, 1959) – C South Africa (SE North West Province and Mpumalanga S to Free State, Eastern Cape and W KwaZulu-Natal) and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–12 cm; 8–14 g. Small, slim and pale grey-brown finch with short, conical bill and bright yellow rump. Male nominate race has forehead to crown and upperparts... read more


    Song, throughout year but mainly Oct–Mar in S of range (where one of the most persistent... read more


    Ranges from lowland dry, open savanna with acacia (Acacia) thorn-scrub to broadleaf ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds, also buds and fruits; some invertebrates. Seeds and buds include those of grasses and flowerheads of Asteraceae, e.g. ... read more


    Season Sept–Jun (mainly Nov–Jan or Dec–Apr) in Zambia and Jun–Apr (mainly Oct–Mar) in South Africa; probably... read more


    Resident and partially nomadic. In non-breeding season large flocks wander in search of food over... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in S of range; local in N & E areas. Race somereni scarce in W Kenya. Has expanded into arid areas of range following irrigation... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Black-throated Canary (Crithagra atrogularis). 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 21 February 2020).