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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jarmo Jutila, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

  • Family: Finches – Fringillidae
  • Appearance: A smallish, colourful and lively finch, with distinctive bright yellow wing bars and a white rump. Adult birds’ heads are marked with red, white and black patches. Their black wing and tail feathers have white tips.
  • Size: Length 12–13.5 cm, weight 15–19.5 g.
  • Nest: In a tree, well concealed and usually high up (1–11 m). Ball-shaped, made of lichen, roots, thread, spider’s webs, and lined with soft vegetable wood and hair.
  • Breeding: 4–6 eggs laid April–May, incubated by female for 11–13 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 12–16 days.
  • Distribution: Found around farms and settlements, mainly in Southern Finland, but sparse distribution extends into northern regions. Finnish breeding population estimated at 10,000–20,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Diurnal. Most birds leave Finland October–November, returning in March–April. Main wintering areas in Southern Scandinavia and Central Europe, though some birds winter in Finland.
  • Diet: Seeds of wild plants, particularly burdocks and thistles.
  • Calls: A cheerful lilting “tikilitt”, and a pleasing chirpy song.

Adult Goldfinches have distinctive red, white and black markings on their heads, yellowish brown backs and broad, bright yellow wing bars on their black wings. Their chests and flanks are also yellowish brown. Their underparts are otherwise white, and they have white rumps. Goldfinches’ tails are black and forked. Their black tail and wing feathers have white spotted tips. Female’s are somewhat less colourful than males. Juveniles lack the bright head markings of adults, and instead have yellowish brown heads and more mottled body plumage. Goldfinches have brown legs, dark-tipped pinkish grey beaks, and dark brown irises.

Other species from the same family

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