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Eurasian Siskin - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Scottishdude
Whatton Nottinghamshire, March 2004
Spinus spinus

Carduelis spinus


Photo © by dfd
Ireland, March 2009

11–12 cm (4¼-4¾ in)
Male Mainly yellowish-green, with darkish streaks. Black chin and crown. Yellow rump.
Female and Juvenile lack the black head, are less yellow and more streaked.


Breeds in the northern Palearctic from the UK to Siberia.
Winters in the Mediterranean region and China.
British Isles: resident, breeding in most of the Scottish highlands and in Ireland. Also found locally in England and Wales.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Formerly placed in genus Carduelis.


Juvenile female
Photo © by JSD
Central Scotland, June 2018

Breeds mostly in coniferous woods, but may also be found in gardens with conifer trees. In winter may be found feeding in birches and alders.


Gregarious, particularly in the winter and often seen in mixed flocks of Goldfinches and Redpolls.


Bounding flight. Also a circular display flight, which is rather bat-like. Hops on the ground.


They mostly feed on the seeds of conifers, alders and birch and will also eat insects.


Photo © by markranner
Tomintoul, Moray, Scotland, March 2017

The 4-5 light greenish-blue eggs have reddish-brown spots and streaks. They are laid in April or May and there may be a second clutch. The nest is formed from dead twigs, roots, moss and heather.


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  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  3. The Observer's Book of Birds' Eggs
  4. RSPB

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