Damara canary

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Damara canary
Canary Black-headed 2011 10 01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Serinus
Species: S. leucolaema
Binomial name
Serinus leucolaema
(Sharpe, 1903)

The Damara canary, Serinus leucolaema, is a small passerine bird in the finch family.


The taxonomic status of this species is uncertain. It is listed by the International Ornithologists' Union as a subspecies of the black-headed canary (Serinus alario).[1]


The Damara canary is 12-15 cm in length. The adult male has rich brown upperparts and tail, a white hind collar and mainly white underparts. The head pattern is striking; whereas male black-headed canary has a solidly black head and central breast, Damara has a white supercilium, and white throat and fore neck with a black moustachial stripe. The black of the central breast is therefore separate from the black of the head.

The adult female is similar, but has a dull grey head, and is dark-streaked on the head and upperparts. It has a rich brown wing bar. The female is similar to female black-headed canary, but shows faint traces of the male head pattern. The juvenile resembles the female, but is paler, has streaking on the breast, and a weaker wing bar.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is a resident breeder in South Africa, Namibia and southern Botswana. It is sometimes placed in genus Alario as Alario leucolaema, and some authorities treat it as a subspecies of black-headed canary, Serinus alario. Its habitat is dry open scrub and grassland, edges of cultivation, and suburban gardens.


The Damara canary is a common and gregarious seed-eater, forming flocks of up to 200 birds. Its call is a low tseett, and the male’s song is jumble of unmusical notes.


  1. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  • 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 ISBN 0-7136-8017-2