Siskin - Carduelis spinus


The Siskin is a small, lively finch, similar to, but smaller than a Greenfinch. It has a distinctly forked tail and a long narrow bill. The male has a streaky yellow-green body and a black crown and bib. There are yellow patches in the wings and tail. It is a resident breeder from southern England to northern Scotland, but is most numerous in Scotland and Wales. Many breeding birds are residents; in winter birds arrive here also from Europe.

Identification difficulty

In the breeding season, look for it in the tops of trees in suitable habitat in Scotland and Wales, where they are fairly common. In winter they are seen more widely across England as well.

When to see it

All year round. In Leicestershire and Rutland it is seen most frequently in late winter.

Life History

Coniferous woodland, especially Spruce, is favoured for breeding. It builds its nest in a tree, laying 2-6 eggs. The food is mainly seeds, as above, and, in the breeding season, insects. It will visit garden feeders in winter.

UK Status

Fairly frequent and widespread in Britain, particularly as a winter bird.

VC55 Status

Quite common as a winter bird in Leicestershire and Rutland but rare as a breeding bird here.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map