© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.


Serinus serinus

  • Name also: European Serin
  • Family: Finches – Fringillidae
  • Appearance: A small, stocky finch, similar to Siskin but has a shorter bill, and less distinct dark colouring on tail and wings.
  • Size: Length 11–12 cm, wings 64–75 mm long, weight 10–13 g.
  • Nest: In trees on small branches far away from the tree trunk at a height of 2–9 metres. Made of straw, roots and lichen, lined with hair, feathers and soft seed hair.
  • Breeding: 3–5 eggs laid in May, incubated by female for 13 days. Fledglings remain in nest for about 14 days.
  • Occurrence: Most common around the Mediterranean, but has expanded its range northwards since the 1800s. Breeds in well-lit forests, gardens, parks and cemeteries. Seen fairly regularly in Finland. Sightings possible at any time of year, but most commonly in May–June. Has also bred in Finland, but present Finnish breeding population estimated at 0–5 pairs.
  • Migration: Sedentary in the Mediterranean countries, but migratory in Central Europe. Spring migration April–May, autumn migration September–October.
  • Diet: Seeds, especially of plants from the brassica, daisy, knotweed and nettle families.
  • Calls: Call similar to White Wagtail “tirlit”, song modest with squeaking and buzzing sounds.

Serins are very small finches with streaked greenish yellow plumage, similar to Siskins. Males have yellow colouring on their foreheads, throats, necks, chests, neck rings and eyebrow stripes. Females are darker with more streaking and less yellow colouring. Adults of both sexes have yellow rumps, though juveniles do not. Serins’ tails are uniformly dark and their wings have no whitish wing stripes. Their legs and irises are dark brown, and their beaks are dark.

Serins are busy birds, constantly taking flight and flying with an undulating flight pattern.

Other species from the same family

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