European Greenfinch

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Is the European Greenfinch right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Greenfinch, Common Greenfinch, Wild Canary (a name also used for other species)

Scientific name: Carduelis chloris or Chloris chloris

The basics:
The adaptable European Greenfinch is a hardy songbird widely admired in Europe for its ready song, its relatively easy care, and its willingness to breed in cages as well as aviaries.The wild Greenfinch is a widespread and successful seed-eater that frequently appears at bird feeders throughout Europe. This hardy species has also been successfully introduced into the wild in some parts of Australia. Its taxonomy is still under debate. Many researchers place it in the Carduelis genus with the European Goldfinch but others have suggested that it belongs in its own genus, Chloris.

As the name suggests, the wild form is a rather plain greenish bird with a seed-cracker's bill. However, several mutations have been developed over the years, including a bright yellow lutino with red eyes. The males are somewhat more colorful and definitely more determined singers than the females.

25 - 32 grams (1 oz.)

Average size:
14 - 15 centimeters (5.5 - 6 in.)

10 - 12 years

Behavior / temperament:
Greenfinches have become popular with British exhibitors because they are hardy and confident birds that are relatively easy to breed. Like any finch, they don't wish to be petted and they don't learn tricks, but they often become quite calm and happy around their people.

The agreeable European Greenfinch can be kept in a large, well-planted mixed-species aviary. Pairs can also nest successfully in large breeding cages screened with greenery like evergreen branches. Indeed, cage breeding is undoubtedly the best way to continue to control who mates who if you're breeding to create mutations or to exhibit in competitive shows.

Greenfinches are seed-eaters that enjoy a quality canary or greenfinch seed mix at the heart of their diet. However, they can't live on seeds alone, and they also need healthy greens such as chickweed, sprouts, fruit like berries or chopped apple, and protein sources like eggfood. Some breeders also offer live insects. This species occasionally has a tendency to gain too much weight, but owners have gotten their Greenfinches back into shape by moving them to a planted aviary where they can exercise by flying.

Written by Elaine Radford

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