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Forest Canary - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Alan Manson
Queen Elizabeth Park, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, August 2006
Crithagra scotops

Serinus scotops


L. 12-13 cm
Wt. 15 g

  • Olive green above with brown streaks
  • Black mask from lores to chin
  • Yellow eyebrow
  • Yellow below with green wash
  • Olive streaks on breast and flanks


  • Yellow throat patch


Photo by Alan Manson
Queen Elizabeth Park, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, August 2006
  • Lacks throat patch
  • Duller
  • Greyer on the face
  • More heavily streaked below
  • Yellow eyebrow not as broad


Eastern and southern South Africa, eastern Lesotho and western Swaziland.


Placed in genus Serinus by Clements.


Three subspecies based on plumage coloration[1]:

  • C. s. scotops:
  • from low-altitude (eastern) KwaZulu-Natal and coastal Eastern Cape
  • C. s. kirbyi: Breast darker and more strongly streaked than nominate
  • Afromontane forests of Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga
  • C. s. umbrosa: Upper parts darker green than nominate, underparts duller and eyebrow shorter
  • Coastal forests of southern Western Cape and Afromontane forests of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal (>1000 m)


Forest, coastal thicket, tall shrubland and Protea woodland, orchards, wooded gardens, and plantations.



Inconspicuous, foraging in small groups or pairs in the mid to upper canopy, forest margin vegetation or on ground. Food includes small seeds, fruit, flowers and leaves.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533

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