Crithagra reichenowi (Serinus reichenowi)
Geographical distribution and habitat
The Reichenows seedeater is found in the east of Africa; Sudan, Ethiopia, parts of Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania. In Kenya it is known that this Crithagra species will leave in September / November and will return in April / June. There is no mention of this migration behaviour in the other parts of this birds habitat. This species is mainly observed in very dry areas with minimal rainfall and therefore little and low growing vegetation. Crithagra reichenowi finds his food on the ground. It is therefore assumed that these birds mainly live on vegetarian food as unripe (grass) seeds that have fallen on the ground. The nests are found in the rainy season, when the food supply increases and becomes more varied. The season of breeding differs per area and can extend throughout the year.
Size: 11 cm (4.3 inch)
Description and subspecies
Both sexes are virtually identical in appearance. The markings on the head of the male would be more clear and defined. Young birds are more pale and brown compared to adult birds and show more striping on the chest. No subspecies of C. reichenowi have been described. It has been reported that the birds from the north of the distribution area are brighter in color and more grey than the birds from the south of their natural habitat. Initially, this Crithagra species, as well as C. xanthopygia (Yellow-rumped canary), was considered to be a subspecies of C. atrogularis (Black-throated canary). Reasons for bringing the Reichenows seedeater to an independent species are: the different distribution area of C. atrogularis and the differences in color and markings compared to both C. atrogularis and C. xanthopygia; (creamy-white forehead / eye stripes, black-brown beard stripes and a creamy-white throat)
Reichenows seedeater can be easily confused with the Yellow-rumped canary (C. xanthopygia) but has a more pronounced headlining and a lighter color on the belly. The bright yellow color of the rump is the most corresponding similarity with C. atrogularis and C. xanthopygia. C. reichenowi could also be confused with C. reichardi (Reichards seedeater) who does not have a yellow rump and is somewhat larger. The breeding period in aviculture– preferable in large breeding cages - can be the whole year round. Breeding condition can be determined on the basis of the male's singing, while he is trying to impress his female. These birds can be best kept on a diet of a mixture of millet or millet varieties, supplemented with grass seeds, lettuce seeds and some weed seeds. It cannot be said that these birds are very tolerant towards other serin species, certainly not during the mating season. Ring size 2.5 mm.