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Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

The goldfinch is a striking, small finch of gardens, parks, woodland, heathland and farmland. It eats small seeds, especially from ragwort, dandelions and teasels (their long, pointed bills help them to extract the seeds), as well as invertebrates. It will visit birdtables and feeders, too. During winter, goldfinches roam about in flocks of up to 100 birds, searching for food. However, some of our UK birds will migrate as far south as Spain to avoid the worst of the harsh weather.

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Related questions & advice

Should I feed birds in my garden all year round?
Is it important to keep bird tables and bird feeders clean?
How can I stop sparrowhawks taking birds at my feeders?
How can I attract goldfinches into my garden?
What should I do if I find dead birds?
How can I get involved in monitoring bird populations?
How should I feed my garden birds?


Did you know?
  • Vast numbers of goldfinches were trapped as songbirds during the Victorian era, causing their population to crash.
  •  The collective name for a group of goldfinches is a charm.
  •   Alternative names for the goldfinch include - gold linnet, King Harry and redcap.
  •   Male goldfinches have longer beaks than females, allowing them to feed on teasels.
  •   The scientific name of the goldfinch is linked to the thistle, a favourite food of goldfinches.
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