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Crithagra gularis (Streaky-headed seedeater, Streaky-headed canary) 

[= Serinus gularis

Streepkopkanarie [Afrikaans]; Indweza (also applied to Brimstone canary) [Xhosa]; umBhalane, umDendeliswe [Zulu]; Tšoere (generic term for canaries and siskins) [South Sotho]; Streepkopkanarie [Dutch]; Serin gris [French]; Brauengirlitz [German]; Canário-de-cabeça-estriada [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 gularis (Streaky-headed seedeater, Streaky-headed canary) 

Streaky-headed seedeater, Addo Elephant National Park, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo Duncan Robertson ©]

Streaky-headed seedeater, Overberg, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Although it has an isolated population in Angola, it mainly occurs in southern Africa from Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana and Mozambique to South Africa, excluding most of the Northern Cape, Free State and North-West Province. It generally prefers woodland and plains and hillsides, such as Acacia, broad-leaved and dry riverine woodland, also occupy forest edges, grassy protea scrub and the border between natural vegetation and cultivated land and gardens.

Distribution of Streaky-headed seedeater 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.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as host of psocid parasites.

Movements and migrations

Resident and sedentary, although it may make local movements in Winter.


It mainly eats flowers, buds, seeds, nectar, fruit and insects, doing most of its foraging on the ground and in the foliage of forbs, grasses, shrubs and small trees, often joining mixed-species foraging flocks. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • seeds, nectar and flowers of Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)
    • flowers
      • marigolds
      • peaches
      • apricots
      • Rumex (sorrels)
      • Aloe (buds, anthers and stamens)
      • Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral-tree)
    • nectar
      • Aloe
        • A. marlothii (Mountain aloe)
        • A. arborescens (Krantz aloe)
        • A. castanea (Cat's-tail aloe)
        • A. greatheadii (Spotted aloe)
        • A. thraskii (Dune aloe)
      • Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral-tree)
    • seeds
      • Aloe ferox (Bitter aloe)
      • mistletoes (Loranthaceae)
      • Pinus halepensis (alien Aleppo pine)
      • pawpaws
      • Acacia karroo (Sweet thorn)
      • Cassia
      • Amaranthus
      • Aspalathus
      • Chenopodium
      • Chironia
      • Eriocephalus
      • Lampranthus
      • Nymania
    • fruit
      • Euphorbia ingens (Giant euphorbia)
      • Lantana camara (alien Cherry-pie)
      • Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly-pear)
      • Maytenus (silky-barks)
      • Olea (olives)
      • Ficus (figs)
      • Morus (mulberries
  • Insects


  • Monogamous, solitary or loosely colonial nester, as it sometimes forms small groups with little if any territoriality.
  • The nest is probably built solely by the female, consisting of a cup of dead leaves, grass, bark, twiglets, dead seedheads, textiles and paper, lined with fluffy seeds or other plant down. It is typically placed in the upright or horizontal fork of a bush or tree, among Bitter aloe (Aloe ferox) leaves or in a cluster of pine cones.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-15 days.
  • The chicks are brooded by their mother for the first 5 days or so of their lives, and are fed by the female with food provided by the male. They leave the nest at about 17 days old, but they remain dependent on their parents for food for some time.


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.