Crithagra gularis (Serinus gularis)
Geographical distribution and habitat
The Reichard’s seedeater, also known as Streaky-headed seedeater, can be found in nature in several separate areas in Africa. One large area is located in the eastern part of South Africa. Some smaller areas in the west and east of central Africa. Due to the different areas where this species is found in nature, there is no characteristic biotope to be recognised. In general, the Reichard’s seedeater prefers a habitat with low trees and shrubs, cultivated areas, gardens and more open forests. Overall dry, green areas.
Size: 13-16 cm (5.10-6.30 inch).
Description and subspecies
Gender differences are partly dependening on the subspecies / origin and is not always easy to determine by appearance. The little eyebrow strips from the males are slightly brighter than from the females and have more contrast with the black-brown head color. Sometimes the striping under the chin of the females is more pronounced. This phenomenon can be observed in more Serin species.
Subspecies according to James F. Clements, December 2010:
-Crithagra gularis benguellensis: parts of Angola and Zambia. Brown and less striped on the head.
-Crithagra gularis canicapilla: Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon. More white in the throat and white eyebrow stripes extend throughout to the neck.
-Crithagra gularis elgonensis: Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic
-Crithagra gularis endemion: Transvaal, Swaziland, Cape Province, south of Mozambique. More brown than nominate.
-Crithagra gularis gularis: Transvaal, Botswana, Orange Free State, Cape Province (type species)
-Crithagra gularis mendosa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique. With its 15-16 cm the largest of all spp. These have a more pronounced beak and brown colored head.
-Crithagra gularis montanorum: Highlands of Nigeria, West Cameroon.
The few breeding reports mention the sudden aggressive behaviour of Crithagra gularis, also towards birds of other species. Whether this behaviour is typical for these birds, is not clear to say. The singing of the males seems to resemble the singing of Yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) and the Grey singer (Crithagra leucopygia). Diet in aviculture could be a mixture of seeds for Goldfinches and a seed mixture for tropical birds, living (or deep-frozen) insects, some fruit (apples) and eggfood. Reichard’s seedeater could be confused with the Protea canary (Crithagra leucoptera), but the latter has less pronounced eyebrows and the mask is more black. These birds in European aviculture will not always breed in spring and summer. When the male starts to sing more intensive and male and female have more and more interest in each other, are the best clues that the birds are getting into breeding condition.