Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Cape Siskin (Crithagra totta)


French: Serin totta German: Hottentottengirlitz Spanish: Serín de El Cabo

Loxia totta


, 1786,

Cape Province, South Africa


Formerly considered conspecific with C. symonsi. Monotypic.


SW South Africa (Western Cape E to SW Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 10–20·3 g. Small to medium-sized, drab-brown finch with conical bill and prominent white tips on primaries and tail. Male has forehead and most... read more


Song a weak, musical warble with liquid twitters and including several "peechee" notes, e.g. "chewy... read more


Lowland and lower montane rocky hills, foothills, fynbos and edges of coastal scrub and woodland,... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small seeds, buds, flowers, also insects. Seeds include those of proteas, Leucadendron, Erica plukenetii, ... read more


Season Aug–Dec. Monogamous. Solitary. Displaying male makes rapid whirring flight in front of perched female. Nest built by female... read more


Sedentary but breeding birds from higher areas move to lower levels in non-breeding season; becomes... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in Cape Fynbos EBA. Common to locally common.

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2020). Cape Siskin (Crithagra totta). 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 25 February 2020).