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Breeding African Serins

 Yellow-Fronted Canary

(Serinus mozambicus)

The Yellow-Fronted Canary also known as the Green singer is a small common African Serin that is found in most of Africa , south of the Sahara and is seen from savannas to scrub land, gardens and plantations. It is persecuted for the cage bird trade because of its lively clear loud canary like song , calm and confiding nature and willingness to breed. There are 10 subspecies of this Serin most being seperated by slight variation in the amount of green , yellow and gray in the plumage, size and facial markings. Males when in breeding condition sing in concert with each one trying to out sing the next. I found that this African Serin thrives on a typical "finch" mix with all t ypes of millets and millet spray added rather than a regular canary seed mix.

 First off I would like to say that what method works for one breeder does not necessarily mean it will work for others as in this article I will share my own experience breeding these beautiful African Serins.

 I strongly believe that success in breeding these birds they will need to have a strong pair bond. To achieve this you will have to pair them up a few months before breeding season commences. I also suggest using a double breeder cage that has a wire divider for reasons I will explain later. I have found that they will need about 14-16 hours of light to rear successfully. They will need a good quality finch mix with a little canary song restorer added, a daily supply of soaked / sprouted seeds, a good commercial eggfood mix that I also add hard boiled egg and a probiotic (Lactobacillis) for a healthy immune system in the young and breeding birds.

I give my pairs small 4in open canary nests that are camouflaged by some fake evergreen branches. Even though the birds are cage bred they seem to sit/breed better when they have a little added security. I use white cotton fiber or white goat hair for nesting material and the hens usually build a beautiful tightly woven nest. Green singers usually lay up to 3-4 eggs and each egg should be taken out and replaced with a dummy canary egg. When the 3rd egg is laid I return her eggs and I remove the dummy eggs to ensure that all the young have an equal survival chance as they will hatch the same time.

Incubation is usually between 12 -14 days and at this time keep an eye on the male Serin as sometimes he becomes a problem by tugging at the nesting material or the nest and this disturbs the sitting hen. If so I close him off to the other side of the cage with a wire divider and let him back in with the hen after the chicks hatch and are about 5-7 days old as he should start feeding the youngsters and the hen.

The youngsters usually leave the nest anywhere from 15-18 days of age and are predominantly fed by the male Serin. Again keep an eye on the male Serin when the youngsters reach about 25 days old he will get a little rough with t hem as the hen will start getting ready for round 2. This time separate the youngsters from the parents with the wire divider and the male cannot harm them and will continue to feed them up until they are fully weaned. I personally keep them next to each other up till the youngsters are 40 days old and are very strong by then and can be moved into a small flight w ith other youngsters of roughly the same species. Sexing the youngsters is not easy at first as the young males do not get into full color until the second molt and carry the necklace of dots like the hens have up to a year. You will notice the young males starting to chirp/sing a baby song after a couple months as they look dazed and barely squeezing some noises out of their throats. Heres a tip: put small different colored open plastic bands on the youngsters when you transfer them to the baby flight cage. Every time you spot one trying to sing mark the color as a male.

I hope some of this information will help others breed these magnificent Serins as they are beautiful birds, very long lived and have a very strong melodic song.

Charles Loukeris

Member of N.F.S.S