Green singer, Yellow-fronted canary, Yellow-eyed canary, Green Singing finch
Crithagra mozambica (Serinus mozambicus)
Geographical distribution and habitat
Green singers are widely distributed throughout Africa: West Africa, East Africa, Southeast Africa. As a result, a large number of subspecies have developed. In some of these areas, it is noticed that these birds have a seasonal or regional migration. The habitat in which Crithagra mozambica lives is very diverse; open areas with some scarce bushes and trees, gardens, parks, savannas and agricultural areas but they are also found in the vicinity of residential areas. Characteristic is the fact that water is never far away. They feed on small seeds of mainly grasses and weeds, young leaf and flower buds, fruit, nectar from flowers and small insects.
Size: 11-13 cm (4.3-5.2 inch)
Description and subspecies
There is a widespread misunderstanding, that female birds of this species all have a "necklace" of grey spots. Some subspecies of Crithagra mozambica don’t have this “necklace”. However female birds of the subspecies Crithagra mozambica punctigula and Crithagra mozambica caniceps do have this more or less distinctive ring from grey to dark green dots or stripes in the neck. In general, female birds will be less intense yellow or green in color, especially in the flanks, overall less pronounced in colour and markings. Because of the possible interbreeding of several subspecies, recognition of these subspecies based on the currently present birds in (European) aviculture, is not easy.
The most imported and therefore, the most cultivated Green singer in European aviculture, would be Crithagra mozambica caniceps. This is one of the smaller subspecies with an obvious (light) grey color on the head, and females have this necklace of grey spots. Crithagra mozambica barbata has a somewhat blocked appearance, the feathers on the head are “olive green” and the supercilium is slightly wider and deeper yellow compared to C.m. caniceps. The beard stripes are deeper black at C. m. barbata and therefore more contrasting than at C. m. caniceps. Barbata has a yellow to pale yellow band on the tail-end feathers and shows a more black with yellow band on the wing. Subspecies Crithagra mozambica granti shows a more white to light-yellowish band on the tail-end feathers. This subspecies is also slightly larger, with a more pronounced striping on the back feathers. Feathers of the head are dark grey. Furthermore, females have a small white spot directly under the beak where the males show no white.
Other subspecies are:
-C.m.somaliyae (golden-yellow color),
-C.m.vansoni (les striping on the back and pale green)
-C.m.tando (larger birds and more green from appearance),
-C.m.punctigula (similar to caniceps but mor intens yellow and less grey),
-C.m.grotei (paler and vague grey beard stripes)
The nominate form is Crithagra mozambica mozambica.
In the past Green singers have been one of the most imported birds from Central and South East Africa. The interest in breeding with these birds in aviculture is quite recent. During the years that import was legal in Europe, these birds where cheap to buy and easy to obtain. Breeding is best done in somewhat larger breeding cages. The nest is built from dry grass, coconut fibers and other light colored materials. These birds have an irregular mating and breeding period. Some indications that these birds are getting into breeding condition are the more frequent singing of the males and the way they try to impress the females. Young birds are raised with a good quality egg food and some, pinkies (maggots) and mealworms. Together with the Grey singers (Crithagra leucopygia) these Green singers are the most kept and bred birds of the Crithagra genus in European aviculture.