Lemon-breasted Canary Crithagra citrinipectus


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as local and uncommon within its limited range, although occasionally abundant (Clement 1999).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in overall decline owing to pressures on the palms with which it is strongly tied, plus trapping for the cagebird trade (Fry et al. 2004). However populations are likely to have increased in some locations, such as the deforested Shire Valley in Malawi since it is adaptable to a wide variety of grassland habitats (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2005).

Distribution and population

This species is found in southern Malawi, south-east Zimbabwe, and southern Mozambique to Zululand and northern Natal, South Africa. It has also been recorded in Zambia.


The species is found in lowland palm savannas, clearings in dry woodland, Brachystegia scrub, grassland, gardens, road verges and edges of cultivation, invariably below 750 m. It is gregarious and often forms flocks with Yellow-fronted Canary S. mozambicus, and in the non-breeding season nomadic flocks move at random in search of feeding areas of flowering grasses. It is strongly associated with Ilala palms Hyphaene natalensis over most of its range.


At least 2,000 individuals are exported from the population in south Mozambique annually (Parker 1999). The Ilala palms Hyphaene natalensis, with which the species is associated, are commonly used in furniture manufacture, at least in Zimbabwe (Fry and Keith 2004).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Fisher, S., Harding, M., Pilgrim, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Crithagra citrinipectus. Downloaded from on 02/04/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/04/2020.