Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Drakensberg Siskin (Crithagra symonsi)


French: Serin de Symons German: Basutogirlitz Spanish: Serín del Drakensberg

Spinus symonsi


, 1916,

Sangebetu Valley, Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa


Formerly considered conspecific with C. totta. Monotypic.


Lesotho and EC South Africa (NE Free State, W KwaZulu-Natal and NE Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 11–16·8 g. Small to medium-sized, drab finch. Male has forehead to nape and side of neck dull yellowish-green, finely streaked darker; short, indistinct... read more


Song, given for prolonged periods throughout day in breeding season, a lively jumble of buzzing "... read more


Lower montane and submontane heathland, scrub and grassy areas on plateau, hillsides and valleys of... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly a variety of seeds, buds and small insects. Seeds and buds include those of grasses and proteas, also Schkuhria pinnata,... read more


Season Nov–Jan. Probably monogamous, solitary and territorial. Nest a neat, shallow cup of dry grasses, plant fibres, leaves and... read more


Altitudinal migrant; descends to lower levels and valleys in non-breeding season and during cold or... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in Lesotho Highlands EBA. Common to locally common.

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2020). Drakensberg Siskin (Crithagra symonsi). 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).