Yellow-fronted Canary

Crithagra mozambica

The Yellow-fronted Canary occurs in savanna and woodland habitats, and seems to be dependent on the availability of surface water for regular drinking. They penetrate more arid areas along well wooded water courses, and have extended their range into parks and plantations established in otherwise unsuitable grassland areas. They feed mostly on the ground, foraging for seeds, flowers, nectar and insects, and often form mixed flocks with other seed-eating birds. Adult Yellow-fronted Canaries weigh only between 9 and 16g.

Breeding season for the Yellow-fronted Canary spans spring and summer in South Africa. While they occur in small flocks outside the breeding season, pairs are monogamous and usually nest well apart from others. Nest building is mostly the responsibility of the females, who build a cup shaped nest of plant material and spiderweb in a tree or bush, quite high above the ground. The female is also solely responsible for incubating the clutch of 2-5 eggs for 2 weeks, while the male feeds her. The female also broods the chicks for the first few days after hatching, with the male then bringing food for both her and the chicks. The chicks leave the nest when they’re about 3 weeks old, but still remain dependent on their parents for quite some time thereafter.

In South Africa, this species is common in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and parts of the Free State and North West provinces. Furthermore, the Yellow-fronted Canary also has a wide distribution over west, central, east and southern Africa. While listed as “Least Concern”, the IUCN notes that the international pet trade is probably causing a decline in the population of the Yellow-fronted Canary.


24 thoughts on “Yellow-fronted Canary

  1. Joanne Sisco

    As if the little yellow canary wasn’t cute enough, you tossed in a blue waxbill to crank it up a notch 😉
    The first photo makes me want to break out into the Sesame St song ‘one of these things is not like the other’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Hi Kim! We haven’t seen them often in urban settings either, but the SABAP distribution map does show that they’ve been recorded from several of our big cities (probably in parks and areas of natural vegetation rather than around houses): Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit all included!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth

    I wonder if Mina Birds lay blue eggs. After a bad wind, a friend of ours found a blue egg on the ground, and I have tried to find out. So far nobody can tell me. They are the birds in India that seem to be able to speak if trained. I don’t want to train them, because I love their natural calls early every morning.


    1. Beth

      I see others have uploaded pictures, but I am not able to do it. I wonder why, or maybe I should say I wonder how to do it. I wanted to show the blue egg in relation to the size of an adult hand.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      That is very kind of you, Beth. We’ve been toying with the idea of a series of books on some of our favourite wild destinations, but haven’t had the courage to take the jump yet.



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