Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)


Outside of breeding season goldfinches form nomadic flocks, called ‘charms’ and these charms are often spotted feeding in fields and on road verges. They love seeds, buds, insects, dandelions, burdock and thistles in particular, and use their slender, tweezer like bills for extracting seeds from plants and flowers. They will feed at bird tables in your garden but prefer swinging acrobatically on hanging seed feeders.


Goldfinches are one of our prettiest birds and easily distinguished by their bright colour scheme and characteristic markings. They have a distinctive red face with a white patch behind the eye and a black crown and nape. They have a yellow wing patch, black tails and a long pointed bill. Both sexes look similar but juveniles have a grey-brown spotted plumage and lack the face markings of the adult bird which they acquire in autumn.


Goldfinches nest in orchards, parks, gardens, villages and anywhere there are tall deciduous trees. They construct their cup shaped nests high in trees and bushes using stems, moss and plant wool and sometimes even decorate the outside of their nests with flowers! They produce 2 broods of 4-6 reddish patterned eggs which they incubate for 12-13 days.

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