Eurasian Siskin

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Is the Eurasian Siskin right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Siskin, European Siskin, Common Siskin, Black-headed Goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus spinus or Carduelis spinus

The basics:
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)

Average size:
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

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