Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Forest Canary (Crithagra scotops)


French: Serin forestier German: Waldgirlitz Spanish: Serín forestal

Crithagra scotops


, 1850,

Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Probably closest to C. koliensis, with which possibly conspecific. Race kirbyi previously listed as transvaalensis, but latter is preoccupied#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. kirbyi Dowsett, 2012 – NE South Africa (N & E Limpopo).
  • C. s. umbrosa (Clancey, 1964) – E & S South Africa from Mpumalanga and W KwaZulu-Natal S through S Eastern Cape (above 1070 m) to S Western Cape.
  • C. s. scotops Sundevall, 1850 – N Swaziland, E Lesotho and lowland S KwaZulu-Natal S to coastal Eastern Cape (below 920 m).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–13 cm; 13–18 g. Small finch with stout, robust-looking bill, heavily streaked upperparts and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race has lower... read more


    Song, usually from top of tree, a rich and lively high-pitched warble with tinkling notes,... read more


    Edges and clearings in dense bush of highland or submontane evergreen forests, including (in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of buds, seeds and fruit, including seeds of Anthospermum, Alternanthera pungens, Bidens pilosa, ... read more


    Season Oct–Mar; occasionally two broods. Monogamous. Territorial; territories evidently small, as two active nests in same tree not... read more


    Resident and partially nomadic; makes local movements in search of fruiting trees or shrubs.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in South African Forests EBA. Uncommon or locally common.

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Forest Canary (Crithagra scotops). 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 27 February 2020).