Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Yellow Canary (Crithagra flaviventris)


French: Serin de Sainte-Hélène German: Gelbbauchgirlitz Spanish: Serín amarillo

Loxia flaviventris

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cape of Good Hope = Berg River, Cape Province, South Africa


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. dorsostriata, but may not be closely related. Races intergrade. In South Africa, proposed race hesperus (described from Port Nolloth, in NW Northern Cape Province) is considered an intergrade between nominate race and marshalli, and quintoni (from Hillmore, near Beaufort West, in E Western Cape) is likewise a synonym of nominate; aurescens (from Kenhardt–Brandvlei road, in C Northern Cape) is synonymized with marshalli. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. f. damarensis (Roberts, 1922) – SW Angola, Namibia (except extreme S), Botswana and adjacent South Africa (extreme NE Northern Cape).
  • C. f. flaviventris (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – extreme S Namibia and W & SW South Africa (E to W Eastern Cape).
  • C. f. marshalli (Shelley, 1902) – SE Botswana, N & C South Africa (Limpopo Province S to Northern Cape, Free State and N Eastern Cape) and lowlands of Lesotho.
  • C. f. guillarmodi (Roberts, 1936) – highlands of Lesotho.
  • Introduced (nominate race) on Ascension I and St Helena, in S Atlantic Ocean.

    Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 10·3–20 g. Medium-sized to large finch with conical bill. Male nominate race has lower forehead and supercilium (to rear of ear-coverts) rich or bright... read more


    Song, usually from top of bush, tree or high perch, also in display-flight, a fairly long and... read more


    Lowland plains of bush and scrub, including acacia (Acacia) and Terminalia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds and flowers, including those of Amaranthus angustifolius, Amaranthus thunbergi, Sonchus oleraceus... read more


    Season Jul–Apr. Monogamous. Solitary breeder; territorial. Male displays in rising, butterfly-like, slow circular flight with shallow... read more


    Resident and partial migrant, and nomadic in non-breeding season. Gathers in flocks in non-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, locally common or locally abundant; uncommon to rare in Angola. One specimen and a single sight record from SW Zambia. Recorded breeding... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Yellow Canary (Crithagra flaviventris). 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).