Yellow canary

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This article is about the bird. For the 1943 film, see Yellow Canary (film). For the dye, see Canary Yellow. For the color, see Yellow.
Yellow canary
Serinus flaviventris -Great Karoo, Northern Cape, South Africa -adult male-8.jpg
In Northern Cape, South Africa
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Serinus
Species: S. flaviventris
Binomial name
Serinus flaviventris
(Swainson, 1832)

Crithagra flaviventris

The yellow canary (Serinus flaviventris) is a small passerine bird in the finch family. It is a resident breeder in much of the western and central regions of southern Africa and has been introduced to Ascension and St Helena islands.

Its habitat is karoo and coastal or mountain valley scrub. It builds a compact cup nest in a scrub.

The yellow canary is typically 13 cm in length. The adult male colour ranges from almost uniform yellow in the northwest of its range to streaked, olive backed birds in the southeast. The underparts, rump and tail sides are yellow. The female has grey-brown upperparts, black wings with yellow flight feathers, and a pale supercilium. The underparts are white with brown streaking. The juvenile resembles the female, but has heavier streaking.

This species is easily distinguished from the yellow-fronted canary by its lack of black facial markings, and its bill is less heavy than that of other similar African Serinus species.

For an overview of finch phylogeny (including canaries) see the entry on finches.

The yellow canary is a common and gregarious seedeater. Its call is chissick or cheree, and the song is a warbled zee-zeree-chereeo.


  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • Clement, Harris and Davis, Finches and Sparrows by ISBN 0-7136-8017-2

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