European goldfinch

European goldfinch
Carduelis carduelis

Photo by Franck Renard (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
European goldfinch (en); pintassilgo-comum (pt); chardonneret élégant (fr); jilguero (es); stieglitz (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

This species is found throughout most of Europe, from the Mediterranean to southern Scandinavia, including the British Isles, and east into central Asia as far east as western Mongolia and China and northern India. It is also found in northern Africa along the Mediterranean coast. The European goldfinch has been introduced to southern Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay, Cape Verde and Bermuda.

These birds are 12-13,5 cm long and have a wingspan of 21-25 cm. They weigh 14-19 g.

The European goldfinch is found in a wide range of habitats, including temperate forests, grasslands, scrublands, freshwater wetlands, pastures and arable land, orchards and also urban areas.

They feed on the seeds of various grasses and herbs, namely  teasels, thistels, knapweeds, groundsels, ragworts and dandelions.

European goldfinches breed in April-July. They nest in a cup made of moss, grass and lichen, and lined with wool and plant down. The nest is placed on an outer branch of a leafy tree or scrub, often in a garden, orchard or hedgerow. The re the female lays 3-7 pale blue eggs with reddish markings, which she incubates alone for 10-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 13-18 days after hatching. Each pair raises 2-3 broods per season.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 73,5-348 million individuals, although this estimate requires further validation. The population has had a stable trend in Europe over the last 3 decades.

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