Charlie's Song Birds



          The Lemon-breasted Canary

                               Lemon-breasted Canary

                                         (Serinus citrinipectus)

                             Unsuccessful breeder? bring it on!

The  Lemon-breasted  Canary  (Serinus citrinipectus) was believed to be a  natural  hybrid  of  the  Yellow-fronted Canary and the Yellow-rumped  Seedeater  as   the  ranges  of  both  of  these  African  Serins overlap  but  is currently considered to be a full species.   Its range is Southeast   Africa   and  where  the  Lala  Palm  trees  are  so  is  the Lemon-breasted Canary.  It  has  an  unusual  habit of  nesting in the center  of  these  Palm trees as it conceals their nests from predators. The nests are built from  palm fibers, flower petals and cobwebs and is neatly  lined  with  long Palm frond tendrils.  It  is currently being trapped  in  Southern  Mozambique  for  the  bird  trade.  The current population is on Red Data status as healthy breeding populations of these  Serins  rarely  occur  outside   the  protected  areas  within  the region.


Males  have a  deep  gray head and dark moustache stripes with two whitish/yellow  spots  on  each  side  of the forehead and also on the ear coverts. the back area  is  grayish with black streaking,wings are blackish with  two thin  pale  colored  wing  bars, tail  is  short  and squared  at  the  end  with  whitish  tips.  From the chin to the breast area  is  bright  yellow  in adult males and has a bright yellow rump area.   Belly  is  whitish  and  flanks  are  a  warm  brown color.  The female  is  a  duller  version  of the male without the yellow chin and breast areas  as  they  are replaced by a warm brown  but retains the bright yellow area on the rump.   I  have  found juveniles to be sexed easily.   They  are  a  warm brown all over resembling the female but young  males  have  a  slight  yellow  wash  to  the  chest  area while young  hens do not. The bill is small  canary like grey in color with a little  black   towards  the   point,   legs  and  feet  a  pinkish  brown.

Their  call  is  a  typical  Serin like call  that is quite loud resembling the  Yellow-rumped Seedeater and  Yellow-fronted Canary . The song reminds   me   of   the  Yellow-rumped  Seedeater  but  of  the  Black-throated  variety,  very  clear loud canary like that is sustained with repeated  phrases  almost  like  a  very  joyfull  warbling   and  quite persistent.

Although known  as  an  unsuccessful breeding species  and first time imported  to  the U.S.  I have found my own pairs willing to breed!  I said  willing  but  not  exactly  successful!  They take to small  4inch canary   nests   and   weave  a  beautiful  tight  cup  made  from  fine hairs, jute  and  cotton  fiber.  The  clutch consists of 3 cream colored eggs and is incubated by the hen .  During  incubation  she  gets  very tame  and  is not startled at all while I inspect the nest. I have found the males to be troublesome when the young hatch  as I  have  found newly  hatched  young  scattered  on  the  floor  of the cage  cold and stiff ,  major  heartbreak!  I  did  manage  to  save  a  couple  eggs by transferring  them  to  a  Green  Singer  foster  mother and let the hen Lemon-breasted Serin try  again.  I  produced  8  chicks  in 2008 with only  2  making it to the sticks after the molt and banded with NFSS size "C" bands. I find that these small Serins stress very easily when taken  away  from  the  parents even when self supporting and when  settled   do  not  like to  get  moved  around  until  after  the  molt.


I have  found  this  small  African  Serin  to  thrive  on  a canary mix (more grass seeds)  with  a  little a dded variety of millets .They also take  to  dry  commercial  eggfood  quite  readily  and do enjoy some millet  spray  and  take  apple  and  broccoli  florets  readily.


This  African  Serin has challenged me and I have not given up hope!  Its  a  calm  and  cheery   little   bird  with  a  marvelous  voice  and although  being  imported twice in 2008 people have to realize it is a rare bird that  its habitat is shrinking and as many imported should be preserved  through captive  breeding  as  no  one  knows how long this first time import will ever  be available again.  Whoever has the pleasure of keeping this  Serin will realize sooner or later that this is one..."Special  Bird" !

Charles Loukeris
NFSS  member # 4161



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