The Green Singing Finch (Yellow-fronted Canary)

Green Singing Finch8,11,12,30,31,34,35,37,41
Serinus mozambicus, 11 subspecies
True Finch
Reproduction:Prolific but can be challenging
Singing ability:Excellent
Compatibility:Pushy, mixes well with other pushy species
[Compatibility Chart]
Size:4.25"-5" (11-13 cm)
Approx. cost:$100-200 (US) per pair

Other common names

Green Canary, Green Singing Finch, Green Sisie, Icterine Canary, Mozambique Serin, Yellow-fronted Canary, Yellow-eyed Canary, Yellow-fronted Seedeater, Little Green Singer, African Canary, Shell or Shelly



Area of distribution



Active, may become territorial when breeding.

Physical descriptions

Grey head with two bright yellow streaks: one above the eyes ("eyebrow streak") and one below the eyes. Bright yellow plumage covers the entire underside of the bird, extending from the chin down to the undertail. The rump is also yellow. The top of the neck, back, and wings are a greenish grey with yellow margins to the otherwise blackish wing and tail feathers. Juveniles have a pale yellow face and breast with dull greenish-yellow rump and spots/streaks on the sides of the breast.

Mutations include yellow, white, and isabel.


Hens are duller overall and some races have a line of grey feathers extending across the lower throat, resembling a grey necklace. Only the (adult) cock sings, though hey may not sing year-round.

Green Singing Finch

Juveniles are difficult to sex until they obtain adult plumage at about 9 months of age. Both juvenile cocks and hens may practice singing until they reach full maturity, at which point only the cock sings.


Song clip (.mp3, .04 MB)


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Green Singing Finch
Green Singing Finch hen - notice the grey spots across the lower throat forming a "necklace."

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Charles Lam.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Charles Lam.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Lip Kee Yap.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Ian White.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Ian White.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Francesco Veronesi.

Green Singing Finch
Photo by Hiyashi Haka.

Green Singing Finch
Green singers, hen in foreground. Photo by Mrs. Shawn McCready.

Favorite foods

Canary seed, green food (e.g. cucumber), live food, sprouted seed, soft food.

Natural habitat

Open woodland savanna and plains with occasional trees. Sometimes feeds on edges of farmland, reedbeds, and gardens.


Toward the breeding season, groups of males may alight in tree tops and sing in concert. They usually build nests in small shrubs, thickets, and trees, choosing a site near the end of a branch where it forks at heights varying from 3-20 feet (most commonly 7-10 ft) above ground. Green Singing Finches only pair up for the breeding season, after which time they separate. During the non-breeding season, Green Singing Finches gather in large flocks and roam together in search of food. They feed primarily on grass seeds, but may also eat weeds, tree flowers, and buds. They become insectivorous when breeding. Green Singing Finches love to bathe, and should be provided with a shallow bird bath regularly. Because they have a propensity to shred, ingest, and thus decimate plants, any plantings within their reach should be nontoxic and ideally hardy.

Special considerations

This species has the potential to be housed in a communal aviary, however, Green Singing Finches may show aggression toward other species with similar plumage to their own (i.e. yellow coloration) such as Saffron Finches and Cuban Melodious Finches, and thus should not be housed with these species. Additionally, because males can be aggressive toward one another, only one pair of green singers should be housed per enclosure. Green Singers can be housed in cages, flights, or aviaries; if housing outdoors in temperate climates, be sure to provide adequate shelter from storms, winds, and cold weather (below 50°F).

Green Singing Finches are related to the domestic canary (S. canarius), and have been hybridized with canaries (Green Singing cock × Border or Roller canary hen) to produce fertile offspring. Green Singing finches have reportedly also hybridized with: Goldbreasted Waxbill (Amandava subflava), Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina), European Goldfinch (C. carduelis), European Greenfinch (C. chloris), Eurasian Siskin (C. spinus), Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Black-headed Canary (Serinus alario), Southern Yellow-rumped Seedeater (S. atrogularis), Cape Canary (S. canicollis), Yellow Canary (S. flaviventris), Gray Singing Finch (S. leucopygius), and European Serin (S. serinus).

They tend to be long-lived (a captive life span of 8-10+ years is not uncommon). Serinus mozambicus is a species listed in the CITES Appendices, meaning that international trade of the Green Singing Finch (export, import) is restricted. Therefore if you obtain a pair, you should strongly consider breeding them to continue their availability in captivity.

Green Singing Finches can become obese if fed too rich a diet year-round and/or not provided with adequate exercise. Feeding an austerity diet when not breeding and offering a larger enclosure with perches spaced far apart will help reduce this risk. Green Singing finches can suffer from intestinal parasites (including coccidia), overgrown nails, egg-binding (if not fed an adequate diet or provided with natural sunlight; more commonly seen in first-year and old hens), infected bug bites (typically on nonfeathered skin), and a propensity to contort and injure their wings during handling (so be especially cautious to secure the birds' wings to the sides of the body during handling as this will prevent the birds from twisting their wings). This species may be infrequently affected by scaly leg mite and air sac mites. Note that older birds and those with damaged feathers may develop atypical white or yellow markings which are not due to being pied nor having a genetic mutation.

Breeding season

Autumn/winter in Southern hemisphere; nesting tends to occur from August/September through January; breeding season can be artificially induced by manipulating temperature, diet, etc.

Breeding tips

These birds are best bred between 2 and 4 years of age. Breeding can be accomplished in cages, flights, or aviaries. Perches within the enclosure should be secured firmly to permit successful copulation. The breeding diet should be introduced about 1 month prior to anticipated breeding. Green Singing Finches are monogamous with a strong pair bond, though some breeders have had success breeding the birds as trios (2 hens with 1 cock). Only house one pair (or trio) per enclosure; colony breeding multiple pairs does not tend to be successful, and housing more than 1 pair together requires a very spacious and well-planted enclosure. Ideally pairs should not be kept within ear shot of each other to maximize productivity.

The courtship can be rough; it often involves a chase prior to copulation, and occasionally the male may pluck some of the female's feathers. To limit aggression, before placing the pair in the breeding enclosure, the cock and hen can be introduced via a smaller cage with a central wire divider separating the cock from hen. This allows the birds to become accustomed to each other while limiting physical contact. After about a week, the pair can then be introduced into the breeding enclosure together. The cock feeding the hen is a sign of breeding readiness, and may take place up to a few weeks before nest building starts.

This species builds a cup-shaped nest and should be provided canary nest baskets/pans (at least 2 at varying heights in the enclosure). Some pairs will construct the nest within clumps of dried brush affixed to the aviary wall or suspended from the ceiling. Ensure that any nest site provided is sheltered from rain and storms. Provide coconut fiber, dry/soft grasses, rootlets, kapok, and soft feathers for nesting material.

Eggs are pale blue in color (sometimes spotted) and are incubated by the hen. The cock does not tend to incubate, but does feed the hen while she is sitting on the eggs. Some breeders opt to remove each egg as it is laid, replacing it with a plastic dummy egg. Then, once the clutch is complete, the breeder returns all of the eggs to the hen at the same time. This ensures that the eggs all hatch on the same day, giving each chick an equal chance at survival. Once the chicks hatch, both parents feed them. After the young fledge, the cock continues to wean the babies as the hen starts her next brood. Be sure to provide plenty of live food, green food, and soft food for the pair to feed their young. If space restraints require, juveniles can be removed from the breeding enclosure once they are fully weaned--about 4 weeks after they fledge the nest. Breeding pairs typically raise 3-4 clutches per season, and may reuse the same nest after re-lining it.

Green Singing Finches can be successfully fostered under domestic canaries.

Life Cycle

Clutch size:2-4
Incubation:Done by the hen once the 3rd egg is laid
Hatch date:After 13-14 days of incubation
Fledge date:At 16-18 days of age
Wean date:About 4 weeks after fledging
Juvenile molt:Around 9 months of age

Related Article(s)

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Green Singing Finches

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