Species group: Exotic Songbirds
Other common names: Siskin, European Siskin, Common Siskin, Black-headed Goldfinch
Scientific name: Spinus spinus or Carduelis spinus
Eurasian Siskins are friendly seed-eaters that can thrive happily in well-planted mixed-species aviaries. Unlike many finchlike songbirds, they can learn to fly to their owners for treats.Although they're cold-hardy, Siskins aren't usually recommended to beginners because they need some live food and can be a challenge to breed.
This highly successful, widespread songbird is found over a broad region of Europe, Asia, and north Africa. The taxonomy of this siskin species is still being debated, but some authorities have moved it out of the Carduelis genus and into the Spinus genus. You will find information about these birds under both names.
The alternate name, Black-headed Goldfinch, is a decent description of this black-capped yellow-green finch. Adult males stand out because their yellow-green plumage is brighter and more defined than their partner's. Several attractive mutations have been created, including a lovely pastel.
10 - 14 grams (0.35 - 0.5 oz)
12 centimeters (4.7 in.)
11 - 14 years
Behavior / temperament:
At least one breeder has reported that these normally peaceful birds can become somewhat aggressive when nesting. If you're breeding in a cage instead of a large, well-planted aviary with lots of cover, you may need to separate the male from the female once she starts laying.
Eurasian Siskins are probably more likely to stay in shape in a large, well-planted walk-in aviary that they can share with other compatible birds. Watch your step when you enter the aviary to feed them, as theses friendly birds have been reported to gather at their owner's feet. However, if you wish to breed them for show or to develop color mutations, you may have better luck if you place each pair in its own spacious breeding cage or flight.
The wild Eurasian Siskin eats a heavily seed-based diet including seeds of evergreen trees like conifers. Captive Siskins often get a small seed mix created by blending canary, British finch, or wild bird seed mix with wild weed seeds. Keep an eye on these birds, especially if kept in a cage that limits their exercise, because they have a tendency to gain weight. The diet should be supplemented with healthy treats like chickweed, soaked/sprouted seed, or other fresh food like chopped vegetable or fruit salad. They also need access to a calcium source like a clean cuttlebone. Breeding birds will need a good eggfood and/or a source of mini mealworms or other tiny live grubs.
Written by Elaine Radford
hardy birds, great company, pretty voice
The Siskin variety I wanted to review was not available, so I figured it would be best here.
A neighbour brought me Snitch, a baby eurasian siskin, still in his nest. It had fallen from somewhere in his house, and he didn't know what to do with it. I got some formula and - thankfully I was a teenager in summer vacations - started doing 2,4 hour shifts to feed it.
Snitch soon warmed up to me. Not much later he started flying to me when I went away to wash the feeding syringe, and I had to catch him in midair so he didn't fall in the sink, which is how he got his name.
I kept him as a pet for a while. He was great company, singing and preening my hair in a show of affection, but I did not find him trainable, and common household things like windows represented that much more of a danger because of that. I then got a very big outdoor cage and a canary, and they became inseparable. I had read you could get an hybrid with these two species, but thought it best not to try - I had many, many birds already.
Siskins are very pleasant birds to have all around, beautiful, with a pretty voice and gentle behavior. (This does not mean you should try to capture them, of course.).
From RSilva Jan 23 2014 2:06PM
No Such Thing as a Tired Siskin
Siskins go non-stop: they are incredibly active and it's a good idea to give them plenty of space to live. Keep in mind they are very social birds, so it is a good idea to get a pair of them at the minimum. They are very healthy birds and it is easy to meet their diet requirements - they typically eat just seeds (thistle-mix recommended). If you have the space to keep them and the means to have more than one of these guys, I recommend siskins!.
From prankie Jan 28 2015 4:38PM