Serinus capistratus  

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Black-faced canary

Serinus capistratus (Dendrospiza capistrata, Crithagra capistrata)

Geographical distribution and habitat

The Black-faced Canary can be found in parts of Zambia and Zaïre (the Central of Africa) as well in several other small parts of Angola. The Black-faced Canary can be seen at edges of ever green woods and at vegetation along water. Searches for food (grasses) at the surface and in the spikes of seed-bearing plants and trees. During the period from November to May the nests with three eggs can be found. This breeding period depends on both the area these birds live and the food supply.

Size: 12 cm (4,7 inch)

Description and subspecies

The external distinction between male and female is without doubt the black mask, only supported by the male. The female is more palish green than the male and can show striping at the chest. The chicks are more grey/green than the female and especially more striped at the chest. The variety Serinus capistratus hildegardea shows a more green/yellow than the nominate specie. The Black-faced Canary can be confused with the Western citril (Serinus frontalis), the African citril (Serinus citrinelloides) and the Southern citril (Serinus hypostictus).


It is not clearly known if the Black-faced Canary ever has been imported to Europe and if the species is recognized as Black-faced Canary. Since 2013, some couples came in possession of specialist breeders, members of ESSB. There are documented breeding results achieved in 2015.