Geographical distribution and habitat
The Syrian serin lives in the hills and mountainous areas of Syria but is also found in Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. These birds migrate to other countries such as Egypt and Turkey. There are also sightings in Iraq. Their natural habitat in all these countries is a fairly dry area with cedar trees, pine trees and spruces. But also orchards are frequently visited by these birds. Their natural diet consists of a multitude of seeds of annual and perennial herbs. The nests are found starting from the moment that there is sufficient food supply available. These circumstances are different for each area. In case of persistent drought and little food there will be no nesting. Serinus syriacus is found in a limited habitat in the Middle East and their status is considered as vulnerable.
Size: 13 cm (5,1 inch)
Description and subspecies
Sexes differ, adult male and female are different in color intensity. Males have a more intense yellow forehead compared to females. The yellow forehead sometimes tends to show some very light orange color. The males also have some yellow around their eyes ('glasses'). The chest and back of the males is more yellowish-green. During the breeding period the males will show these colors and markings at their best. No subspecies are described. Young birds and adult females have a more defined and fine striping on their back.
These Syrian serins are not often found in the cages and aviaries of aviculturists. Due to the fact that this species can occur in countries such as Turkey, it is advisable to consider Serinus syriacus as an European bird species. To avoid problems and discussions we better comply with the legal requirements for European birds; ring size 2.5 mm. Although it is debetable if these birds are truly to be considered as an “European species”. It is very advisable to house these birds in dry conditions. Serinus syriacus can not be mistaken with other Serinus species, especially if one watches the yellow color around the eyes. If we take a look at the photos, we can see that these birds have a fairly dark beak. The European serin, Serinus serinus, is overall more greenish, smaller and more stocky than the slender Syrian serin.