Serinus dorsostriatus    

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White-bellied canary

Crithagra dorsostriata (Serinus dorsostriatus)

Geographical distribution and habitat:

Crithagra dorsostriata has a wide distribution in the eastern parts of Africa. Especially in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, where it is a common seen bird. But is also observed in Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Characteristic of this extensive area is that it is located on and very near to the equator, where the length of day and night are approximately equal. In general, the natural habitat of the White-bellied canary is very dry, with scarce spread and low vegetation. Observations in the country of origin learn that Crithagra dorsostriata feeds with seeds, leaf buds, freshly germinated leaves and some fruit.

Length:13 cm: (5.10 inch)

Description and subspecies:

An eye-catching feature of the male Crithagra dorsostriata is a wide bright yellow supercilium that goes up to far beyond the eyes. As with Green singers (Crithagra mozambica), the white-bellied canary - specially the males - have an obvious marked beard striping. These beard stripes, head lining, back cover and tail feathers are green, and have a fine thin striping. Both male and female have a white belly. Females are less bright and pronounced in appearance, overall more vague and greenish of color. The chest of the females is more greenish yellow. Most distinguishing difference with females of Yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) is that females of Yellow canary lack any yellow or green on the breast and are overall more grey/brownish. As one of the few Crithagra species, females of Crithagra dorsostriata have striping on the flanks; mature males only barely. Subspecies C. dorsostriata maculicollis has a brighter white and much more extensive belly and white under-tail coverts.


There are various visions regarding the origin of Crithagra dorsostriata. One is, this species originated from Green singer (Crithagra mozambica) or Yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) and over the years specialized in survival in very dry areas. Whitebellied canary is a Serin species that has hardly any problems in aviculture, provided that the birds are not fed exclusively with a seed mixture for tropical birds, what is mainly millet. As many other Crithagra species, White-bellied canaries can best be kept on a main diet of a mixture for tropical birds and a seed mixture for European goldfinches and siskins as this mixture should contain rapeseed. In addition, they eat eggfood, apple or other fruit, mealworms and (deep frozen) maggots, leaf buds and (fresh) grasses and herbs. As with more Serin species, when the male gets into breeding condition it is to be heard by singing and a more pronounced cloaca. The females starts to get a thin feathered abdomen. When housing conditions are good, White bellied canaries can breed throughout the year. Don’t forget to give the birds a break for a few months after one or two nests. These birds can be kept in cages of about 1 meter length. A good harmonious couple shows, once they are used to each other, no aggressiveness to one another. Usually, these birds are exemplary parents. This species can be very aggressive for other birds when they are in (breeding) condition. Both males and females can turn into lethal killers, especially to birds with a yellow appearance. It is better to take precautions in an earlier stage. The song is beautiful, but hard and is enthusiastic promoted.





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