The endangered São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor is the world's largest canary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor, endemic to the island of São Tomé (Gulf of Guinea), is one of the least known birds in the world. Formerly considered to be an aberrant weaver (Ploceidae), it is currently placed in a monotypic genus within the true finches (Fringillidae). Phylogenetic inference based on mitochondrial and nuclear sequences confidently identifies N. concolor as an Old World finch (Fringillidae: Carduelinae) within the Crithagra seedeater/canary clade. The São Tomé Grosbeak is therefore the world's largest canary, 50% heavier than the next largest species, and it co-occurs with a population of its sister species, the Príncipe Seedeater Crithagra rufobrunnea.


  • Martim Melo
  • Martin Wintersparv Stervander
  • Bengt Hansson
  • Peter J H Jones
External organisations
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Porto
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology


  • Serinus, Crithagra, Fringillidae, Gigantism, Molecular phylogeny, Oceanic islands
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-679
Issue number3
Early online date2017 Mar 23
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul
Publication categoryResearch