Crithagra totta (Cape
[= Pseudochloroptila totta]
Kaapse pietjiekanarie [Afrikaans]; Serin totta [French];
Hottentottengirlitz [German]; Canário do Cabo [Portuguese]
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vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial
vertebrates) > Tetrapoda
(four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Reptilia (reptiles) >
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Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
Order: Passeriformes > Family: Fringillidae
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to South Africa, specifically occurring in the Cape
Fold Mountains in the Western and Eastern Cape. It generally prefers fynbos on
mountains and in valleys, also occupying clearings in mountain forest patches,
fringes of succulent Karoo, edges of pine plantations and village gardens.
Distribution of Cape siskin in southern Africa,
based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas
Animal Demography unit, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
See here for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2.
Movements and migrations
Resident and partially nomadic, as it may move
to lower altitudes during particularly harsh Winters.
It mainly eats seeds and buds either taken from bare
patches of ground or directly from grasses and shrubs. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet:
- Ficinia (sedges)
- Metalasia (blombos)
- Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis (Renosterbos)
- Chenopodium (misbredies)
- Erica plukenetti (Hangertjie)
- Widdringtonia (cedars)
- Leucadendron (conebushes)
- Monogamous solitary nester, building a shallow cup of fine dry grasses and
rootlets or withered Asteraceae flowers and lined with fine grass sometimes
mixed with down, wool or hair. It is typically placed in a horizontal
crevice, small depression or cavity in a rock face or tree, alternatively in
a fern other plant on a rocky ledge.
- Egg-laying season is from August-December.
- It lays 3-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for at least
- The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 19
Although it was previously thought be Near-threatened,
current data suggests otherwise as it is well-represented in protected areas.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.