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.