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Salvadori's Seedeater Picture

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The genus Serinus is a large genus of birds in the finch family Fringillidae found mostly in the Afrotropical region with some outlying species in Europe and Asia. The genus contains several species groups including canaries, citrils, seedeaters and the African siskins. The majority of species are small to medium sized birds with green and yellow, often streaky plumage though there are a few notable exceptions.

The treatment of the Canary group as a single genus has been subject to much debate, with behavioural and vocal characters being used to divide it into seven or more genera. Recent investigations using part of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene have suggested the genus consists of two main clades (Serinus sensu stricto and Crithagra) separated by certain members of the genus Carduelis, and these may be better treated as two separate genera. Species in the Crithagra clade could conceivably be split further into several more (sub)genera and may well be once relationships within the clade are better resolved. In the list below they are arranged in the groups as suggested in various publications e.g.(Elzen et al.) and (Ryan et al.).

Serinus sensu stricto
  • Red-fronted Serin, Serinus pusillus
  • European Serin, Serinus serinus
  • Syrian Serin, Serinus syriacus
  • Canary, Serinus canaria
  • Cape Canary, Serinus canicollis
  • Yellow-crowned Canary, Serinus flavivertex
  • Abyssinian Siskin, Serinus nigriceps
  • Black-headed Canary, Serinus alario (sometimes placed in genus Alario)

(Sub)Genus: Crithagra

Dendrospiza group
  • African Citril, Serinus citrinelloides
  • Black-faced Canary, Serinus capistratus
  • Papyrus Canary, Serinus koliensis
  • Forest Canary, Serinus scotops

Ochrospiza group
  • White-rumped Seedeater, Serinus leucopygius
  • Yemen Serin, Serinus menachensis
  • Olive-rumped Serin, Serinus rothschildi
  • Yellow-throated Serin, Serinus flavigula
  • Salvadori's Serin, Serinus xantholaemus
  • Black-throated Canary, Serinus atrogularis
  • Yellow-rumped Serin, Serinus xanthopygius
  • Lemon-breasted Seedeater, Serinus citrinipectus
  • Yellow-fronted Canary, Serinus mozambicus
  • White-bellied Canary, Serinus dorsostriatus

Crithagra group
  • Northern Grosbeak-canary, Serinus donaldsoni
  • Southern Grosbeak-canary, Serinus buchanani
  • Yellow Canary, Serinus flaviventris
  • Brimstone Canary, Serinus sulphuratus
  • White-throated Canary, Serinus albogularis

Poliospiza group
  • Black-eared Seedeater, Serinus mennelli
  • Brown-rumped Seedeater, Serinus tristriatus
  • Streaky-headed Seedeater, Serinus gularis
  • Reichard's Seedeater, Serinus reichardi

Pseudochloroptila group
  • Cape Siskin, Serinus totta
  • Drakensberg Siskin, Serinus symonsi

Group uncertain
  • Protea Canary, Serinus leucopterus
  • Streaky Seedeater, Serinus striolatus
  • Thick-billed Seedeater, Serinus burtoni
  • Principe Seedeater, Serinus rufobrunneus

Genus uncertain

These species may be related to various groups currently classified as members of Carduelis:

  • Mountain Serin, Serinus estherae
  • Tibetan Serin, Serinus thibetanus
  • Ankober Serin, Serinus ankoberensis

The Citril Finch and the Corsican Finch are now placed in the genus Carduelis as Carduelis citrinella and Carduelis corsicana (Arnaiz-Villena et al., 1998).


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