[order] Passeriformes | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Serinus pusillus | [UK] Fire-fronted Serin | [FR] Serin ŕ front d'or | [DE] Rotstirngirlitz | [ES] Serín de Frente Rojo | [IT] Verzellino fronterossa | [NL] Roodvoorhoofdkanarie

Roodvoorhoofdkanarie determination

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Slightly larger than Serin but with similar stubby form on ground and in flight. Distinctive serin, with sooty head and breast, fiery orange-red forecrown, and heavily streaked back and flanks; rump orange in centre. Juvenile has rufous-buff face, cheeks, and throat. Within Serinus, unmistakable at all ages, but beware confusion with (1) vagrant Redpoll which also has usually red but occasionally paler orange forehead in adult plumage and can appear quite swarthy and heavily streaked at distance, and (2) Turkish race of Twite whose black-splashed chest and flanks recall young Red-fronted Serin in 1st autumn transitional plumage.

Breeds in south-east of west Palearctic, in middle and upper tree belts of mountains, subalpine meadows, and in wide and narrow ravines along rivers; in Caucasus, at 600-3000 m. Sings from upper branches of low birches or pines, or rock ledges, but is often on ground or on stony or rocky terrain, nesting in rock crevices but occasionally in lower branches of juniper, rose, or other shrub. Occurs in rhododendron zone and among juniper, descending in winter to valleys of lower mountain zone, and in snowy conditions even to foothill plains and town orchards, but rarely travels far. Very trusting, visiting courtyards and streets of mountain villages, and feeding in vegetable gardens.

Serinus pusillus is a widespread resident in the Caucasus and adjacent parts of Russia and Turkey, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>280,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970- 1990. Although the species declined slightly in Armenia during 1990-2000, these losses were set against increases in Russia, and stable trends in Azerbaijan and the Turkish stronghold, and the species probably remained stable overall. Consequently, it is provisionally evaluated as Secure.

Seeds, fruits, and other plant material; sometimes small insects. Feeds on ground, in herbs, and in trees.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km˛. It has a large global population, including an estimated 560,000-1,600,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeding period in Turkey: April-July; eggs laid mid-April at c. 1500 m. In Caucasus: eggs laid 2nd half of May, 2nd clutch in July. The nest is built low in dense bush or tree, generally growing at top or on ledge of inaccessible cliff, or high up in conifer, though still well-protected above by foliage; also in rock crevice, hole in scree, etc. Nest: neat and compact, appearing large and thick-walled for size of bird; foundation of dry grass, bark strips, stalks, moss, lichen, and sometimes twigs, lined thickly with plant down, feathers, etc., spiders‘ webs often incorporated. The eggs are short sub-elliptical, smooth and faintly glossy; bluish-white, sparsely flecked, with pink or reddish-brown to purple-black scrawls, speckles, and blotches, mostly at broad end; sometimes unmarked. Clutch: 3-5 eggs, incubated for about 13 days. Young fledge after 14-16 days.

Mainly altitudinal migrant. Chiefly resident in Turkey, dispersing to lower altitudes in winter (mostly November-March), and more widespread then in southern coastlands. Reaches Cyprus only exceptionally, but some Turkish birds move south inland, apparently especially in cold years, to winter locally in Syria, Lebanon, and northern and central Israel, chiefly above 800 m. Arrives in Israel from end of October to end of December, majority reaching winter sites December or beginning of January; movement inconspicuous, mostly 1st-year birds. Spring movement through Israel (also inconspicuous) from early February to mid-March, chiefly February. Winters irregularly highlands of northern Iraq.