Home | Bird Species Profiles | The “Other” Canary – the Green Singing Finch or Yellow-fronted Canary, Serinus mozambicus

The “Other” Canary – the Green Singing Finch or Yellow-fronted Canary, Serinus mozambicus

Green Singing Finch

This cheery little bird is actually closely related to the ever-popular canary, S. canaria, and will hybridize with it in captivity. Although overshadowed by its better known cousin, this African native has much to recommend it as a pet.

Physical Description
The greenish-grey upper parts merge with the lemon-yellow breast and chin, and a yellow streak tops the eye. Females are somewhat duller than males, and have a faint ring of black spots about the neck. Reaches 4- 4½ inches in length.

Range and Habitat
Most of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in semi-arid areas. Favors open forest and scrub, as well as farms and ranches.

Status in the Wild
Not well studied. Listed on Appendix III of CITES (the Committee on International Trade in Endangered Species).

Feeds mainly upon the seeds of grasses and shrubs, but also takes plant sprouts, berries and insects.

A cup shaped nest is constructed of grasses, moss and animal hair. The eggs are blue-green with brown speckling, are incubated by both parents, and hatch in 13 days. The young fledge in 2 weeks, and sexual maturity is reached in 4-6 months.

Green singing finches forage in pairs or small family groups, and do not form large flocks.

Green Singing Finches as Pets

These birds are hardy and active, and the male’s song is a real pleasure to hear. They can, however, be aggressive towards other species of finches unless ample room is provided. Pairs cannot be housed with other green singers, and when nesting may harass other birds even in quite large aviaries. Males sing their melodious, cheerful song throughout the day during the breeding season.

Space and Other Physical Requirements
Despite their small size, green singers need a good deal of room as they are quite active. They will do fine in a large indoor cage such as (http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/237219/product.web), and will show off to great advantage in a planted outdoor aviary.

The cage should be lit by a full spectrum bird bulb if the finches are housed indoors.

A basic finch seed mix, such as ZuPreem Fruit Blend should be fed, as well as occasional mealworms and small crickets. Green singers consume a bit more green food than do other finches – Vitakraft’s Sprout Pot will provide much-relished grass sprouts. They will also enjoy picking at small slices of apple, orange and other fruits.

Social Grouping/Compatible Species
Green singing finches are aggressive towards others of their kind, and should be housed in pairs only. Parents will co-exist with fledglings only until the next clutch of eggs is laid.

They will get along and even interbreed with canaries in a large, well-planted aviary, provided there is ample cover and perching and feeding sites. Even in this situation, however, breeding pairs may become aggressive. Individual green singing finches vary greatly as concerns their tolerance of other species, so you will need to experiment a bit if you plan on mixing them. Mixed species grouping should only be attempted in a large, outdoor aviary – in a typical indoor cage, they will not get along with other birds.

Other species that may be tried with green singing finches include red-crested cardinals, larger finches such as bullfinches, goldfinches and certain waxbills, diamond and other small doves and Japanese quail.

Captive Longevity
Green singing finches have lived for over 20 years in captivity.

Please see “Reproduction”, above. Although an open cup nest is typical, some green singers will also utilize a nest box. Additional green food, in the form of grass and other plant sprouts, as well as insects, is required when the pair is raising young. The parents tend to leave the nest at even slight disturbances. They usually return quickly, but when breeding should be provided with as much privacy as possible.

Additional Resources



  1. avatar
    Hye Jeong Grenier

    Hello, I have had a female green singing for 2 years. A friend would like to give me his male canary, I read in your article that the 2 will get along, but are there any problems I can expect. My cage is not large enough for 2, can you suggest a size or type? I read the article on using insects , live and dry or canned for birds, are any useful for canaries? Thank you.

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    The only problems you might experience would be in the birds’ individual personalities and acceptance of one another. This is less of a problem with canaries and finches than with parrots, but keep their cages side by side for a few days so you can gauge their reactions to one another. When you introduce them, do so in their new cage so that neither will have developed a territorial interest in it, and at a time when when you can stay nearby and observe.

    The Blue Ribbon Sries T-11 Cage is ideal for a breeding pair (singing finches and canaries readily hybridize).

    Both species relish insects. In addition to small live crickets, mealworms and waxworms, they should also accept Canned Crickets, Grasshoppers, Caterpillars and Freeze Dried Flies (Anole Food).

    Good luck…please let me know how the birds get along.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    halo i hve a pair of canaries and r trying 2 breed them bt the male dnt want 2 bt the female wants 2

  4. avatar

    Hello Angelo,

    It’s common for one to be interested while the other is not. best to separate the pair and try again in a few weeks. Spring is the ideal time to introduce the pair (not sure where you are located). Changing the diet a bit, adding variety, insects beforehand is also useful. please let me know if you need more info. This article may be of interest also. Enjoy, Frank

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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