Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola

Brazilian name:
canário-da-terra-verdadeiro
Male  Saffron Finch, Barra do Quaraí, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image Brazil

The Saffron Finch is a common bird of open and semi-open areas in lowlands outside the Amazon Basin. There are three separate populations: northern Colombia and Venezuela; Ecuador and Peru and north-east Brazil to central Argentina.

Female  Saffron Finch, Barra do Quaraí, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, August 2004 - click for larger image The male is bright yellow with an orange crown which distinguishes it from other yellow finches in the continent. The female are more confusing as they can sometimes be just a duller version of the male but the female of the sub-species S. f. pelzelni, as seen in photos 2 and 5, is olive-brown with heavy dark streaks. The immature male has the yellow showing through as can be seen in photo 3.
Immature  Saffron Finch, Monte Verde, Espírito Santo, Brazil, March 2004 - click for larger image They nest in cavities and make use of sites such as abandoned Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) nests and house roofs.

They have a pleasant but repetitious song which, combined with their appearance, has led to them being kept as caged birds in many areas. According to Sick, they are also used in fights where two males are placed in a large cage and bets are taken on which one wins the fight. Sounds very unpleasant.

Male  Saffron Finch, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image There are illustrations in Sick, Plate 43; Hilty & Brown, Plate 56; and Ridgely & Tudor, Plate 31.

There are recordings and a distribution map on xeno-canto .

Female  Saffron Finch, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil, December 2006 - click for larger image
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