Belongs to: finches

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Attractive brightly coloured finch, once trapped and caged for its liquid song

Habitat: gardens, woods, fields, hedges; now doing well probably because of niger seed in garden feeders

Widespread and common, some birds resident but many wintering in France and Iberia


Crimson, white and black face pattern; broad yellow band on black wings; 11–12 cm

Gregarious; small flocks are a familiar sight feeding on thistles and other tall weeds in autumn

Often twitter in flight, and sing their sweet song openly from a high perch when breeding 


Neat nest of roots, grass, moss and lichen, usually in a spreading tree

Usually 2, sometimes 3, broods May–August; 5 or 6 pale blue eggs, spotted brown

© Alan Williams