Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Andean Siskin (Spinus spinescens)


French: Tarin des Andes German: Andenzeisig Spanish: Jilguero andino

Chrysomitris spinescens


, 1850,

Bogotá, Colombia


Close relationship to S. yarrellii, which has traditionally been assumed, not confirmed by recent DNA work#R. Proposed race capitaneus, described from San Miguel (Santa Marta Mts), in N Colombia, is treated as a synonym of nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. spinescens (Bonaparte, 1850) – Eastern Andean Siskin – Colombia (Santa Marta Mts, Sierra de Perijá and E Andes) and W & N Venezuela (probably Sierra de Perijá; N Andes in Trujillo, Mérida and Táchira; also N Aragua).
  • S. s. nigricauda Chapman, 1912 – Western Andean Siskin – W Colombia (W & C Andes S from N Antioquia) S to N Ecuador (Carchi).
  • Descriptive notes

    9–11 cm; one bird 11·3 g. Small, dull greenish finch with fine bill, yellow wing-flash and slightly forked tail. Male nominate race has forehead and upper lores... read more


    Song a lively series of sustained but rambling high-pitched metallic notes and rolling trills,... read more


    Low bushes and scrub along tree-line and edges of open cloudforest or elfin forest; also in p... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly a variety of plant seeds, particularly Espeletia seeds, and flowers. Forages in low vegetation and on ground; also perches... read more


    Birds in breeding condition in Aug; nest-building in Jun and recently fledged young in Mar. No further information.


    Nomadic or erratic in occurrence; wanders widely throughout its range when not breeding.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, locally common or rare. A poorly known species.

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Andean Siskin (Spinus spinescens). 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 2020).