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Cape Siskin | Crithagra totta

The Cape Siskin is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Fringillidae bird family group which includes birds such as Chaffinches, Canaries, Buntings.

The description for the Cape Siskin (Latin name Crithagra totta) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Crithagra totta can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 874 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 1131. You will find a picture of the Cape Siskin on page 1136.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

The Latin name for this bird is Pseudochloroptila totta in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Cape Siskin is known in Afrikaans as Kaapse Pietjiekanarie.

The Cape Siskin is Endemic to the Southern African Region which means that this bird is only found in this region and nowhere else in the world.

The Cape Siskin has a height of 13 cms and weighs around 11 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured brown. The Crithagra totta has a yellow coloured throat, brown legs and a olive, brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Crithagra totta has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown

Eyes are brown

Bill is brown

Legs are brown

Throat is yellow

Back is olive, brown

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

The bird also drinks nectar from flowers high up in the tree canopy.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Cape Siskin is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 3 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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