European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva Tschusi, 1901

Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Recommended birdwatching tours to watch this bird

Half-day birdwatching

European Goldfinch Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A medium-small finch with a relatively long and sharply pointed bill.

Colour Pattern

The Goldfinch, a Macaronesian subspecies, is easily identifiable by its bright, varied colours. The head of the adult is red, white and black in colour. It has black wings with a broad yellow panel and a yellow band along full length of the back of its body and a black tail with white spots at tip. Juveniles are differentiated by their grey head and light brown plumage. There is no conspicuous sexual dimorphism on this species.


It is common to see mixed flocks of Goldfinches, Atlantic Canaries and sometimes Common Linnets. Its flight is light and bouncing with frantic wingbeats.


Goldfinches are found in several types of habitat, including cultivated areas, areas with creeping vegetation, patches of exotic or indigenous forest and the outskirts of human settlements. In Madeira archipelago this species is found from the sea-shore up to the high grounds on both islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.

Distinction from similar species

Carduelis carduelis Biometrics

Wingspan: 21 - 25 cm (Hume, 2002)
Total length: 12 - 13.5 cm (Svensson et al, 2009)
Weight: 14 - 17 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: They nest in trees and lay 4 to 6 eggs on up to 2 broods between May and August.
Diet: Feeds on soft, half-ripe seeds on low to medium height plants and some trees.


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Very Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Pintassilgo, Pintassilgo-europeu
German: Stieglitz
Dutch: Putter
Swedish: Steglits
Danish: Stillits
Finish: Tikli
Norwegian: Stillits
Spanish: Jilguero Europeo
French: Chardonneret élégant
Italian: Cardellino eurasiatico
Polish: Szczygieł
Slovak: Stehlík obyčajný
Czech: Stehlík obecný

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