Siskins - Hebridean Birds Sightings

Western Isles Birds - Siskin - small yellow green finches.

The the male has a black cap, chin and throat - yellow wing flashes and a yellowish rump.

It also has a notched tail which you can clearly see in flight.

The female is much greyer and shows far less yellow in its overall plumage, with paler streaked underparts

Siskin -  Western Isles Bird Sightings
Bird Overview - Siskins
Latin name
Carduelis spinus


Similar Species
The siskin - a small lively bird, a finch largely green and yellow. Male has a black cap, chin and throat.

This bird has yellow wing flashes and a yellow rump and a notched tail which can be seen in flight.

The females are much greyer with less yellow in their plumage and paler streaked underparts.

Juveniles have browner upperparts and are even more heavily streaked than the female.

12 cm - 4.5 ins
These birds like the treetops in the woodlands.

Siskins are seed eaters and have smaller bills than the other finches and their diet is mainly cone seeds such as birch, alder, spruce and pine. In the summer they eat insects.

The name Siskin is derived from its sound or chirp. Thus, this bird’s common name is really “pine chirper.”

The female siskin builds the nest, which will be high in a conifer tree. The nest is small and tidy, built from twigs covered with lichen, and lined with feathers, hair and fine roots.

The siskin nests in loose colonies, and pairs may visit one another's nests. The nest is defended against other siskins primarily during egg laying and incubation. Breeding birds flock together to forage.

The nests are heavily insulated which will keep the eggs warm. Also the female siskin incubates the eggs constantly, which are deep blue and are normally four or five in number, and is absent from the nest only for brief periods. Her mate feeds her while she sits on the nest.

During the spring the male siskins display is quite elaborate - his song is delivered in flight whilst he is circling the trees

Misc. Info
The Siskin is one of our smallest finches (smaller than a Goldfinch). The siskin has a relatively delicate bill for a finch, not nearly as heavy as the greenfinch bill. The siskin, being a tree-seed feeder it is particularly associated with conifers, but also feeds in birch and alder trees, as well as the peanuts and sunflower seeds we put out on our garden feeders.

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