The Siskin

Our species and plans (6)

The Siskin Carduelis spinus

Status: Secure.

Habitat: Predominantly a bird of conifer and Spruce woodlands. Will also feed in Birch and Alder trees in the winter months. Will also frequent gardens and parks and particularly like Niger seed if put out. Widespread throughout the United Kingdom.

Juvenile Siskin

Statistics : The Siskin is a small seed eating finch that has plenty of character. A length of 12cm approx with a wingspan of 20 to 23cm. Lifespan around 2 to 3 years, seen throughout the year.

Identification : Adult males have a yellow rump, yellow wing bar on black wings, lime green to yellow breast with a black cap on the head. Females are paler and greyer than the males with black streaks on a white underside. Juveniles are more similar to females but not so defined. A very vocal bird with a series of different twittering notes with occasional loud prelonged buzzing purrs which are quite distinct.

Adult male Siskin feeding on Niger seed.

Behaviour : The Siskin generally moves around in groups with yearly offspring hanging around for quite some time. Very sociable bird, with stealth you can get quite close to them for photo opportunities. Can be quite acrobatic around the feeders and food squabbles can occur. A small nest high up of twigs and stems lined with hair producing 4 or 5 eggs with two broods possible between May and July. Eats seeds of pine, Larch and other trees.

Habitat plans: The Siskins are an important part of our woodland and although we will be removing Sitka Spruce over the coming years we do intend to retain some for this species and the Goldcrest. We do have some Larch and a lot of Birch therefore the habitat we have is perfect for these very entertaining birds. We do supplement their food source with the provision of Niger seed.