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Common Linnet - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Linaria cannabina)
Summer male L. c. cannabina
Photo by Andy Bright
Suffolk, U.K.

Alternative name: Eurasian Linnet

Linaria cannabina

Carduelis cannabina


Photo by the late Jim Wood
East Lothian, Scotland

13–14 cm (5-5½ in) It is a slim bird with a long tail

  • Brown mantle and back
  • Off-white throat
  • Grey bill
  • Silvery edge to primaries

Adult breeding Male

  • Red breast
  • Red forehead
  • Grey nape

Winter males, females and young birds lack the red, having streaked breasts and buffy underparts.


Photo by Cristian Mihai
Ciocanu (AG), Romania, July 2016

Widespread and generally common over much of the region. Breeds throughout the British Isles and from western France and Iberia east to the Urals reaching north to southern Norway, southern and eastern Sweden and central and southern Finland. In the south occurs on Madeira and the Canary Islands, northwest Africa and most larger Mediterranean islands, Greece, Turkey and the Caucasus and the Middle East.

Northern and eastern birds are migratory, leaving breeding areas in September-October to winter chiefly within range of southern breeders and along coast of North Africa, returning in late March-April, those elsewhere partial migrants or resident.

Vagrants recorded north to Iceland and Lapland and south-east to Kuwait.


Subspecies L.c. autochthona
Photo © by Macswede
Ardmore Point, Helensburgh, Scotland, 10 August 2010


There are 7 subspecies[1]:

  • L. c. autochthona:
  • L. c. cannabina:
  • L. c. mediterranea:
  • L. c. bella: paler above with very pale rump and pale grey crown and nape in male.
  • L. c. nana:
  • L. c. meadewaldoi:
  • L. c. harterti: paler above and whiter on flanks

L. c. nana is not recognised by all authorities[2]


Open habitats with low shrubs and scattered trees, often on moorland and heathland, along woodland edges, hedgerows and orchards, sometimes in large gardens. The southeastern subspecies L. c. bella occurs on rocky and scrub-covered mountain slopes.

In winter forms large flocks often with other finches and feeds on stubble fields and other cultivated areas, along shorelines and on waste ground.


During the winter can form large flocks mixed with other finches, including Twite.


Its food mainly consists of seeds.


Song: a musical twitter.


  1. 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/
  2. Avibase
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition ISBN 0 00 219900 9

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