EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The European Goldfinch breeding male has a red face with a black patch between bill base and eye. Head and throat are white, nape is black. Back is chestnut brown, wings are black with a yellow patch. Tail is black and forked. Breast is white with chestnut brown sides. Belly is white. Conical bill is light pink. Eyes are black, legs and feet are pinkish. Sexes are similar, but female has less red on the face. Juvenile has no red on the face, and head, back and bill are brown. Bird length is around 13 cm (5 inches). There are at least eleven subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Carduelis-carduelis
NAME: ‘Goldfinch’ refers to the bright yellow plumage (very little actually) of this finch. Latin genus and species names mean ‘goldfinch’.
HABITAT: Grasslands, meadows, open woodlands, parks, gardens.
DIET: Seeds from plants like thistle, also insects. Attracted to seed feeders.
NESTING: Nest is built in a tree and is a compact cup-like structure made of mixed materials. Between three and five creamy eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Native to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Introduced into Australia, New Zealand, North and South America. Popular cage bird.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_goldfinch#/media/File:Carduelis_carduelis_map.png
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy. Species was reported in East Royalty in August 2009.
CONSERVATION: Population was threatened by the illegal pet trade trapping, now species is protected. Another threat is poisoning by agricultural pesticides.
NOTES: Because of its diet of thistle seed, this species has a special meaning in Christianity, being associated to the Crown of Thorns. It is also depicted in paintings and literature.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: European Greenfinch
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_goldfinch
https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob16530.htm (British Trust for Ornithology)
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Carduelis-carduelis (Australia)
http://www.finchinfo.com/birds/finches/species/european_goldfinch.php (pet trade)
http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/european-goldfinch (New Zealand)
http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-european-goldfinch.html

European Goldfinch, male - Tarn, France - Mar. 2012 - photo by Pierre Dalous
European Goldfinch, male – Tarn, France – Mar. 2012 – photo by Pierre Dalous
European Goldfinch, juvenile - Poland - Oct. 2010 - photo by Marek Szczepanek
European Goldfinch, juvenile – Poland – Oct. 2010 – photo by Marek Szczepanek

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