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Goldfinch Birds & Their Habitat


20th August 2013


Length: 12cm.

An easily recognised species due to conspicuous red face and yellow wing-bars. Both male and female have a black line around the base of the bill. The rear part of the crown and nape is black, the sides of the nape, ear coverts and lower throat are white. Upper parts are buff-brown and the rump is white. Under parts are brown, often with some yellow markings on sides of the breast. The centre of the breast is white, wing coverts are black and bright yellow. Young Goldfinch’s lack red and the upper parts are a greyish-brown, under parts are whitish.

During courtship the male sway his body from side to side and spreads the wings, vibrating them rapidly. Flight is notably dancing.


Their call is a harsh ‘geez’. The song is a twinkling, liquid ‘tsweet-witt-witt’.


Breeding starts from late April onwards. They nest in trees at the end of branches, occasionally in hedgerows or shrubs. The nest is constructed by the female, occasionally assisted by the male, and is made of roots, grasses, moss, lichens and with wool. Three to seven bluish-white eggs are laid, some with red-brown spotting and streaking, sometimes very dark. The male feeds the female whilst she is incubating the eggs. This carries on for twelve to thirteen days. The young leave the nest after thirteen or fourteen days. Normally two broods, sometimes three.


The Goldfinch’s like the edge of forests and areas with scattered trees and bushes, including orchards, gardens and parks. They also frequent farmland.

Natural Food

Chiefly seeds, particularly thistle, also insects and larvae.

Where to Feed

Feeders – Ideally above 1m in height

Table – Open topped or covered

Ground – Not Suitable

An easy way to start attracting the goldfinches is to put out two of their bird food favourites: Sunflower seeds and mealworms.