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Crithagra atrogularis (Black-throated canary) 

[= Serinus atrogularis

Bergkanarie [Afrikaans]; Nsense, Kandingo (generic terms for canaries) [Kwangali]; Tšoere (generic term for canaries and siskins) [South Sotho]; Ngodzi [Tsonga]; Zwartkeelkanarie [Dutch]; Serin ą gorge noire [French]; Angolagirlitz [German]; Canįrio-de-garganta-preta [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Fringillidae

Crithagra atrogularis (Black-throated canary)  Crithagra atrogularis (Black-throated canary) 

Black-throated canary, Port Nolloth, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Black-throated canary, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Uganda through southern DRC, Angola and Zambia to much of southern Africa excluding Mozambique, the Kalahari, fynbos biome and the southern Karoo. It generally prefers open savanna, especially Acacia, Burkea (Burkea africana) and miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, also occupying dry riverine woodland, Nama karoo with grass, fallow croplands and weedy road verges.

Distribution of Black-throated longclaw in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© 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

Mainly resident and sedentary, although it may wander short distances in the dry season in search of water.


It mainly eats, seeds, flowers, nectar and insects, doing most of its foraging on the ground and in the foliage of shrubs, forbs and small trees. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • seeds
    • flowers
    • nectar of Aloe greatheadii (Spotted aloe)
    • Acacia gum
  • Insects
    • aphids
    • Hodotermes mossambicus (Northern harvester termite)


  • Usually a monogamous territorial solitary nester, although four birds were once recorded building a single nest.
  • The nest is built by both sexes in roughly six days, consisting of a cup made of dry grass, petioles, Asparagus tendrils and fine twigs lined with soft material, mainly plant down but also hair, wool and feathers. It is typically placed in the upright fork of a tree branch, a bunch of pine cones or the base of a palm frond.
  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking from about October-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-15 days.
  • The chicks are brooded solely by the female but fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 15-17 days.


Not threatened.


  • 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.