Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Eurasian Siskin Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A little finch with broad rounded wings and fairly long bill.

Colour Pattern

Siskin overall appearance is yellowish-green with a blackish cap and chin, yellow rump and patch on each side of its black tail. Its wings are black with broad yellow bars while its breast is yellow. Females lack the black cap and chin having a duller colour overall with streaky undersides, only showing yellow at the wing bars and tail sides.


Particularly associated with conifers this species is a tree-seed feeder, not feeding on the ground. Its flight is undulating and often in packed, coordinated flocks.


Coniferous and mixed woods are their preferred habitat though sometimes visits gardens and alders along watercourses.

Distinction from similar species

It may be mistaken for an Atlantic Canary though male Siskins have much more black on its body. Females might be a bit more difficult to distinguish but if a female Siskin is seen flying it shows the yellow bars on the wings and at the tail sides.

Carduelis spinus Biometrics

Wingspan: 20 - 23 cm (Hume, 2002)
Total length: 11 - 12.5 cm (Svensson et al, 2009)
Weight: 12 - 18 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: Builds its tiny nest of twigs and stems high in the trees where it lays 4 to 5 eggs on up to 2 broods between May and July.
Diet: Feeds on tree seeds.

Until 1995 there was only 1 record of this species to Madeira ( Zino et al., 1995). Then there were some more records of Eurasian Siskins visiting Madeira and in (2002) its breeding was confirmed for Montado do Pereiro (Fagundes et al., 2008), on the mountains above Funchal. Its population seemed to be establishing well due to the increasing numbers of observations though after the fires of August 2010 it has been difficult to observe this species around their first breeding grounds.


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Vagrant with only 1 record
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Lugre
German: Erlenzeisig
Dutch: Sijs
Swedish: Grönsiska
Danish: Grønsisken
Finish: Vihervarpunen
Norwegian: Grønnsisik
Spanish: Jilguero Lúgano
French: Tarin des aulnes
Italian: Luchernino europeo
Polish: Czyż
Slovak: Stehlík čížik
Czech: čížek lesní

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