By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine
This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004
The wild serin finch (Serinus canaries serinus), found from the Atlas Mountains in Africa north in southern Europe through Spain to Greece and Palestine, is a close relative of the wild canary, but is slightly smaller and somewhat darker, with heavy blackish streakings on back and sides (Color Plate I). It is kept commonly in aviaries, breeds in captivity, and frequently crosses with the European goldfinch, the canary, and other small finches.
Because of the widespread range of the serin in the regions where canary culture was first developed, it has been supposed to have furnished part of the parent stock of the domesticated canary, but it appears now that this indefinite belief is unfounded. The closely related form of the Canary Islands and near-by areas is considered to be the one that alone has produced our domestic bird.