Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)


French: Chardonneret élégant German: Stieglitz Spanish: Jilguero Europeo
Other common names: Eurasian Goldfinch, Grey-crowned Goldfinch ("caniceps group"), Eastern Goldfinch ("caniceps group")

Fringilla carduelis


, 1758,



Has hybridized with C. chloris. Races form two groups, W black-crowned "carduelis group" (also with britannica, volgensis, frigoris, parva, tschusii, balcanica, colchica, niediecki and loudoni) and E grey-headed "caniceps group" (also with paropanisi, subulata and ultima); groups sometimes treated as two distinct species, but they hybridize in N Iran and probably in SC Russia. Race brevirostris, described from Baki (E Azerbaijan), is poorly differentiated, also name invalid, as preoccupied, and synonymized with loudoni; likewise, major (described from Turkestan) preoccupied, and replaced by new name frigoris. Fourteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. britannica (E. J. O. Hartert, 1903) – British Is and NW France E to W Netherlands; non-breeding also SW Europe and Morocco.
  • C. c. carduelis (Linnaeus, 1758) – S Scandinavia and SE Finland E to C Urals, S to C France, Italy, Slovenia, NW Romania, Moldova, N Ukraine and middle R Volga; non-breeding C & S Europe E to W Kazakhstan.
  • C. c. volgensis Buturlin, 1906 – S Ukraine, SE European Russia and NW Kazakhstan; non-breeding S to NE Romania.
  • C. c. frigoris Wolters, 1953 – SW & SC Siberia from E Urals E to R Yenisey, S to W Altai and N & NE Kazakhstan; non-breeding SW Russia and S Urals S to S Kazakhstan.
  • C. c. parva Tschusi, 1901 – Madeira and Canary Is, S France, Iberia, Balearic Is, and Morocco E to N Libya.
  • C. c. tschusii Arrigoni, 1902 – Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.
  • C. c. balcanica Sachtleben, 1919 – Balkans S to Greece, Crete and NW Turkey.
  • C. c. colchica Koudashev, 1915 – Crimea and N Caucasus.
  • C. c. niediecki Reichenow, 1907 – Rhodes, and W, SC & NE Turkey E to S Caucasus, also Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, SW Iran, N Egypt (Nile Delta and Nile Valley) and N Iraq.
  • C. c. loudoni Zarudny, 1906 – E Turkey, Azerbaijan and N Iran; winters S to S Iran.
  • C. c. paropanisi Kollibay, 1910 – W Turkmenistan and E Iran E to N, C & E Afghanistan, W Pamirs, Tien Shan, SE Kazakhstan and NW China (NW Xinjiang); non-breeding SW Asia.
  • C. c. subulata (Gloger, 1833) – NE Kazakhstan, SC Russia (E to L Baikal) and NW Mongolia; non-breeding SW & C Asia.
  • C. c. ultima Koelz, 1949 – S Iran (SE Fars and Kerman).
  • C. c. caniceps Vigors, 1831 – W & N Pakistan (Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir and NW Himalayas E to C Nepal and SW China (SW Xizang).
  • Introduced (nominate race) in Bermuda, Azores, Cape Verde Is, SE Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Uruguay, and various parts of USA (established only on Long I, New York).

    Descriptive notes

    10·5–13·5 cm; 9·5–24 g (various races), 22–30 g (frigoris). Small to medium-sized, brightly coloured finch with fine pointed... read more


    Song, usually from open and prominent perch, from end Feb to mid-Jul and late Sept to Dec, a rapid... read more


    Open or sparse deciduous woodland and mixed deciduous and conifer woods, forest edges, thickets,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds (ripe and unripe), buds, flowers and fruit of plants; also some arthropods. Plants exploited include cypress (... read more


    Season Apr to early Aug; two broods (race caniceps moves to higher altitude for second brood). Monogamous. Solitary or loosely... read more


    Resident, migratory, partially migratory and nomadic. Moves diurnally, and singly (rare) or in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to very common and widely distributed in W, local in E; race subulata rare in SC Siberia. Estimated European breeding population 7,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2017). European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2017).