Crithagra symonsi (Drakensberg
[= Pseudochloroptila symonsi]
Bergpietjiekanarie [Afrikaans]; Toere (generic term for
canaries and siskins) [South Sotho]; Serin de Symons [French];
Drakensberggirlitz [German]; Canįrio das Drankensberg [Portuguese]
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Order: Passeriformes > Family: Fringillidae
Drakensberg siskin male, Sani Pass, South Africa. [photo
Trevor Hardaker ©]
Drakensberg siskin female, top of Sani Pass,
Drakensberg, South Africa-Lesotho border. [photo Alan Manson
For information about this species, see
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to Lesotho and adjacent KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern
Cape, South Africa, generally preferring montane shrubland, heathland and
Distribution of Drakensberg siskin 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 in summer but it may move to
lower altitudes in Winter when temperatures above 2600 metres above
sea level get to low for it to endure.
It mainly eats seeds, buds and insects, although it
sometimes drinks the nectar of coral-trees (Erythrina) in suburban
gardens. It does most of its foraging on the ground in low vegetation with
scattered rocks, gravel road verges and the foliage of shrubs and small trees.
- It is probably a monogamous solitary nester, building a shallow cup of dry
grass lined with hair and typically placed in a grass tuft or shrub on a
rocky ledge, or alternatively in a pothole on a low cliff.
- Egg-laying season is from November-January.
- It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for roughly 17 days (recorded in
- Little is known about the chicks, other then a recorded nestling of
about 19 days in captivity.
Although it was previously categorised as
Near-threatened it is now though to be not of serious concern, as despite it
being in demand for the cage bird trade it is present in some 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.