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24

European Goldfinch

(Carduelis carduelis)
Alternate name(s): "Goldfinch", "Gowdie"
German name(s): "Stieglitz", "Distelfink"

Size: 12-13 cm; wing span 21-25 cm
Weight: 14-19 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See European Goldfinch at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "carduelis"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Near-frontal/ventral view of an European Goldfinch

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, July 2016]

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, March 2019]

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Brok, Masovia, Poland, March 2019]

Lateral/dorsal view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of M. Thomas)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, January 2019]

Two European Goldfinches foraging in tall grass

Race "parva"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of an European Goldfinch feeding on petals of a thistle (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2015]

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2015]

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Montargil, Alentejo, Portugal, January 2018]

Near-dorsal view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2018]

Dorsal view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, March 2014]

European Goldfinch on high perches (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Peso, Montemor o Novo, Evora, Portugal, December 2018]

European Goldfinch with, for comparison, a Common Linnet (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Santarem, Portugal, November 2018]

European Goldfinch with, for comparison, a male Stonechat (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, December 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-lateral view of an immature European Goldfinch moulting into adult plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, September 2014]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2015]

Lateral view of a juvenile European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, August 2014]

Race "balcanica"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch (photo courtesy of S. Cuturilov)
[Ovcarsko-Kablarski Canyon, near Cacak, Serbia, October 2017]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Apr - Sep Eggs: 4 - 6 Incubation period: 11 - 13 days Fledging age: 13 - 18 days

The breeding season depends a lot on geographical latitude and climatic conditions. The period listed in the table above applies to central Europe. European Goldfinches can have 2, sometimes 3, clutches per season.

Nest building: Female Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: Basket Material: Lichen, moss, grass, plant down Height above ground: 1.5 - 5? m

View from above into an European Goldfinch nest in a vine (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Eltville, Hessen Germany, May 2019]

Eggs

Size: 17 x 13 mm Colour: White, with sparse near-black speckles Shape: Tapered oval

View from above into an European Goldfinch nest with 5 eggs inside (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Eltville, Hessen Germany, June 2019]

View from above into an European Goldfinch nest with 5 eggs inside (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Eltville, Hessen Germany, June 2019]

The owner of the European Goldfinch, whose temporary absence was used for a sneak peek (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Eltville, Hessen Germany, June 2019]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds, buds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Regular

Like all finches known to us, European Goldfinches are primarily seed-eaters.

Note that cardueline finches (i.e. European Goldfinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin and their close relatives) feed their young primarily regurgitated seeds, while fringilline finches (all others) feed their young primarily invertebrates.

Near-lateral view of an European Goldfinch feeding on parts of the flowers of milk thistles (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2015]

Lateral view of an European Goldfinch feeding on parts of the flowers of milk thistles (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2013]

European Goldfinch feeding on the seeds of a thistle (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Malkinia, Masovia, Poland, August 2019]

European Goldfinch feeding on the seeds of a thistle (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Malkinia, Masovia, Poland, August 2019]

European Goldfinch taking a sunflower kernel from a bird feeder (photo courtesy of M. Thomas)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, January 2019]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

goldfin_dw_20190417.m4a (Ctl Poland) Territorial calls(?) © DW

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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