Brimstone Canary

Crithagra sulphurata

In South Africa, Brimstone Canaries are found from the Western Cape through to Kwazulu-Natal’s north coast, and then along the escarpment of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, reflecting the species’ preference for coastal and montane thickets and forests. In the rest of Africa they’re also found patchily as far as Angola, the DRC, Uganda and Kenya. The IUCN considers it to be of least concern. They do venture into well-planted suburban gardens and exotic plantations.

Brimstone Canaries feed mainly on seeds and fruit and are rarely seen in flocks and then only in response to a localised food source, being more usually encountered singly, in pairs (which are monogamous) or family groups – often in association with other kinds of canaries. They may breed throughout the year, though mainly in the warmer months. The female builds the cup-shaped nest using grass and other fine plant materials in the fork of a tree, and incubates the clutch of 2-4 eggs over a 2 week period while the male provisions food for her at the nest. The chicks leave the nest when they’re between 2 and 3 weeks old but remain with their parents for quite some time after. Adults weigh about 29g and measure 15cm in length.


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