Drakensberg siskin, (
Crithagra symonsi), is a small passerine bird
in the finch family. It is an endemic resident breeder in the eastern
Transkei and western Natal in South Africa, and in
This species is sometimes considered to be conspecific with the Cape
Crithagra totta of southern Cape Province, in which case the
nominate western form is C. t. totta, and the eastern form is C. t.
This locally common but shy and unobtrusive siskin is found in the
scrubby valleys and hillsides of the
5 External links
Drakensberg siskin was formerly placed in the genus
phylogenetic analysis using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences
found that the genus was polyphyletic. The genus was therefore
split and a number of species including the
Drakensberg siskin were
moved to the resurrected genus Crithagra.
Drakensberg siskin averages 13–14 cm in length. The tail
has white sides, a feature which is diagnostic for both sexes, and
especially visible in flight. The adult male has a faintly streaked
light brown back, light brown wing coverts, rump and upper tail, and
yellow underparts. The head and nape sides are yellowish grey and
olive. The throat is bright yellow, but the rest of the underparts are
a somewhat duller shade.
The female has similar but duller upperparts and has no yellow in the
plumage. The head and underparts are buff with much fine dark brown
streaks on the head and breast. The juvenile plumage is much like the
female’s but with heavier streaking.
There is no range overlap with the slightly smaller Cape siskin, which
has white spots on the flight feathers and tail and more uniform
Drakensberg siskin’s call is a schwee, often given in flight.
and the song, like that of Cape siskin, is a weak, pleasant warble
similar to the yellow-fronted canary.
One reason for the taxonomic uncertainty with this species is that, if
it is a true siskin, it is the only one which breeds in cavities. A
shallow cup nest is constructed in cracks or holes in rocks, on ledges
or amongst vegetation, especially ferns. Natural hollows in trees are
The nest is constructed by the female with fine plant material, lined
with plant down and animal hair. The clutch is three or four,
occasionally five, eggs, incubated by the female. She is fed by the
male on the nest by regurgitation.
Drakensberg siskin is seen in pairs or small flock, moving
unobtrusively through bushes and scrub as it forages for seeds
(including proteas), buds and insects.
BirdLife International (2012). "
IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for
Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
^ Zuccon, Dario; Prŷs-Jones, Robert; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Ericson,
Per G.P. (2012). "The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of
finches (Fringillidae)" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
62 (2): 581–596. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.10.002.
^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird
List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5
^ Swainson, William (1827). "On several forms in ornithology not
hitherto defined". Zoological Journal. 3: 348.
Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of
Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
Clement, Harris and Davis, Finches and Sparrows by
Drakensberg siskin - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African