Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)


French: Linotte mélodieuse German: Bluthänfling Spanish: Pardillo común
Other common names: Eurasian Linnet

Fringilla cannabina


, 1758,



Has hybridized with Chloris chloris, Spinus spinus, Acanthis flammea and L. flavirostris. Race guentheri formerly referred to by name nana, but latter invalid, as preoccupied. Geographical variation slight and to some extent clinal, plumage becoming paler from W to E, and races intergrade widely; race mediterranea sometimes synonymized with nominate. Birds in Middle East intermediate between European ones and those further E, possibly closer to latter; proposed races taurica (described from Totakoi, near Simferopol, in Crimea), persica (Damavand, in Iran) and fringillirostris (Kashmir) all considered paler variants of bella, slightly darker variants of which occur in N Turkey and Caucasus. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. c. autochthona (Clancey, 1946) – Scotland.
  • L. c. cannabina (Linnaeus, 1758) – W, C & N Europe (S & C Scandinavia S to N Spain, N Italy, NE Greece, W Turkey and Ukraine) and W & SC Siberia E to upper R Yenisey, S Krasnoyarsk and N Altai; non-breeding visitor to N Africa and SW Asia.
  • L. c. bella (C. L. Brehm, 1845) – Crimea, WC Turkey, Cyprus and Levant E to Caucasus, Iran, S Turkmenistan, NW & NE Afghanistan, S & E Kazakhstan (SW Altai, Tarbagatay and Tien Shan), W Mongolia and NW China (N & NW Xinjiang); in winter also S to N Pakistan (Baluchistan, Salt Range and Punjab).
  • L. c. mediterranea (Tschusi, 1903) – Iberia (except N Spain, but including Balearic Is) E to S Italy, Croatia, Greece, Crete and Aegean Sea islands, also NW Africa (Morocco E to N Tunisia and N Libya).
  • L. c. guentheri (Wolters, 1953) – Madeira.
  • L. c. meadewaldoi (E. J. O. Hartert, 1901) – W & C Canary Is (El Hierro E to Gran Canaria).
  • L. c. harterti (Bannerman, 1913) – E Canary Is (Alegranza, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 15–26 g. Smallish to medium-sized, brownish finch with grey or greyish head, conical bill and notched tail. Male nominate race breeding has lower... read more


    Song, from open or exposed perch at top of bush or low tree, occasionally from ground, a soft and... read more


    Lowland open heaths and commons, especially with gorse (Ulex) and broom, moorlands and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly small to medium-sized seeds of a wide range of flowers and shrubs, also buds; also some invertebrates. Seeds and fruits include... read more


    Season mid-Apr to early Aug; two or three broods. Monogamous, rarely polygamous; pair-bond strong, but only for duration of season.... read more


    Resident, migratory and partially migratory. S European, Mediterranean and Atlantic island races... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common, local in N parts of range; fairly common in Madeira and E Canary Is, occasionally abundant in Spain and Israel, uncommon in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina). 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 19 February 2020).