Very few specimens have ever been collected of this small canary species (3); since being discovered around 1886, the yellow-throated seedeater was not found again until one hundred years later (2). It has mostly greyish-brown plumage, with a white belly and, as the name suggests, a pale primrose-yellow patch on the throat and upper breast (2)(3). The sides of the face are grey, the chin is white and a blackish band runs across the lower neck (3). The yellow-throated seedeater belongs to the finch family, Fringillidae, a group of birds which all have bills that have evolved for feeding efficiently on seeds (4).
Very little is known about the biology or ecology of the yellow-throated seedeater. Only one nest of this bird has ever been found, situated on top of a small Acacia bush (2). Like other Serinus species it is likely to feed on seeds, and is also know to feed on the small shrub Lavandula(2).
Habitat alteration and disturbance is the greatest threat facing the rare yellow-throated seedeater (2). Conversion to farmland is the main threat to the natural habitat of eastern Ethiopia, along with exploitation of trees for timber and fuelwood (5). As the yellow-throated seedeater has never been recorded from cultivated or highly degraded land it is likely to be intolerant of such habitat alteration (2). These threats extend even into so-called protected areas; increasing human pressure and tribal conflicts have impacted the Awash National Park, and people and their livestock have moved into the park, where fires are now a regular occurrence (2).
The yellow-throated seedeater occurs in Awash National Park, but as mentioned above, this is unlikely to confer much protection. There are no specific conservation measures known to be in place for this species at present, but actions, such as distribution and population surveys, have been recommended (2). It appears that action is urgently required, before the tiny population and range of the yellow-throated seedeater shrinks any further.
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