Backyard Birds

Yellow Canaries (Serinus flaviventris)

The Yellow Canaries or Swainson’s Canaries (Serinus flaviventris) are members of the finch family.

Also review the Canary Page.

Distribution / Range

They occur naturally in much of the western and central regions of southern Africa.

These small birds have also been introduced to Ascension and Saint Helena islands.

They are fairly common within their range.

Their habitats are karoo and coastal or mountain valley scrub.

They construct compact cup nests that are placed in scrub.


The Yellow Canary measures about typically 13 cm in length.


Males range in color from almost all yellow to streaked, olive backed birds. The plumage below, the rump and the sides of the tail are yellow. T .


Females is grey-brown above with a pale supercilium (“eyebrow”). She has black wings with yellow flight feathers. Below she is whitish with brown streaks.

Immature Birds:

Immature birds look like females; except the streaking is bolder.


They resemble the Yellow-fronted Canaries but can be separated by the lack of black face markings. Also, the beak is finer.

Diet / Feeding:

Their diet consists of seeds.

Song / Vocalization:

Their calls are described as chissick or cheree; and the song as warbled zee-zeree-chereeo.

Further Finch Reading


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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