- Carduelis carduelis
L. 12-13 cm
W. 21-25 cm
Weight of 14 to 19 grams
- Red face
- Black and white head
- Warm brown upperparts
- White underparts with buff flanks and breast patches
- Black and yellow wings.
- Ivory bill
- Forked tail
Sexes similar but male has a larger red mask reaching just beyond the eye in some individuals. The feathers covering the top of the beak are generally black or dark brown in males and light tan to white in females and this holds true for juveniles and adults. Some individuals are intermediate and difficult to sex in the field.
- Plain head
- Greyer back
- Unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe
Breeds throughout Europe, north Africa, and Asia. Mainly resident, but migrates from colder regions.
Introduced to South America. Australia, New Zealand, and USA (Wisconsin, Illinois, and New York).
There are 12 subspecies:
- C. c. britannica: British Isles, Channel Islands and western Netherlands
- C. c. carduelis: Western and central Europe; winters to Mediterranean and Black Sea
- C. c. parva: Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and western Mediterranean region
- C. c. tschusii: Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily
- C. c. balcanica: Southern Yugoslavia to Bulgaria, Greece and Crete
- C. c. niediecki: Rhodes, Karpathos, Cyprus; Egypt to Asia Minor, northern Iraq, south-western Iran
- C. c. brevirostris: Crimean Peninsula to Caucasus and north-eastern Turkey
- C. c. loudoni: Northern Iran (Talysh mountains to Alborz mountains)
- C. c. paropanisi: Iran to northern Afghanistan and western China (Xinjiang)
- C. c. major: South-western Siberia (Ural Mountains to Yenisey River)
- C. c. subulata: South-central Siberia to Lake Baikal and north-western Mongolia
- C. c. caniceps: red face, otherwise a plain grey head
Weedy fields, gardens.
Can form large single species winter flocks, or be found flocking with other finches.
The main diet consists of seeds, particularly from thistles and teasels, insects are fed to the young. A regular visitor to garden bird feeders.
The nest is placed in the fork of a small tree or bush. It is made from dead grass, rootlets, thistledown, wool and cobwebs. The clutch consists of 5 bluish-white eggs which are covered in grey and brown spots. Incubation lasts about 2 weeks, the young fledging after a further 2 weeks.
There may be up to 3 broods in a season which runs from April to September.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Bird Watching
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) European Goldfinch. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 9 June 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/European_Goldfinch
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