|Male in Northern Cape, South Africa|
|Female in Namaqua National Park, South Africa|
|Global range Year-Round Range Summer Range Winter Range|
Its habitat is dry open scrub and grassland, edges of cultivation and suburban gardens.
The black-headed 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 and central breast are solidly black.
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 juvenile resembles the female, but is paler, has streaking on the breast, and a weaker wing bar.
The Damara canary, Serinus leucolaema, is often considered to be a subspecies of black-headed canary. The male of that form has a strikingly different head pattern, with a white supercilium, and a 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.
This species is phylogenetically included within the group of Serinus syriacus now thriving around the Mt Lebanon and other Asian and African patches in winter, together with Serinus canicollis (African distribution) and Serinus pusillus (Asian distribution) Arnaiz-Villena et al., 1999
The Damara canary is a common and gregarious seedeater, forming flocks of up to 200 birds. Its call is a low tseett, and the male's song is jumble of unmusical notes.
- 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
- Black-headed canary - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.