Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Goldfinch (Carduelis caniceps)


French: Chardonneret de l’Himalaya German: Graukopfstieglitz Spanish: Jilguero oriental

Carduelis caniceps


, 1831,

Himalayas [= Simla–Almora district]


Usually considered conspecific with C. carduelis, but differs in its lack of black crown and vertical line behind ear-coverts (3); much less white on head sides (ns[2]); cold grey vs warm pale brown breast and mantle to wing-coverts and lower back (2); broad white outer vanes to tertials, no white tips to secondaries, creating different closed-wing pattern (2); longer bill (at least 1); harsher, less tinkling song with mainly repeated series of notes (2)#R; narrow hybrid zone at Gorgan, Iran, between C. c. brevirostris and race paropanisi of present species, and apparently broader hybrid zone in Central Asia involving C. c. frigoris and race subulata of present species (score 1). Has hybridized with Chloris chloris. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. subulata (Gloger, 1833) – extreme NE Kazakhstan, SC Russia (E to L Baikal) and NW Mongolia; non-breeding SW & C Asia.
  • C. c. paropanisi Kollibay, 1910 – W Turkmenistan and NE Iran E to N, C & E Afghanistan, W Pamirs, Tien Shan, SE & E Kazakhstan and NW China (NW Xinjiang); non-breeding SW Asia.
  • 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).
  • C. c. ultima Koelz, 1949 – S Iran (SE Fars and Kerman).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15·5 cm; 16–19 g (nominate). Small to medium-sized, brightly coloured finch with fine pointed bill and notched tail. Male nominate race has forehead and forecrown (to just... read more


    Song of nominate male elaborate and variable, comprises short twittering bursts, given from high... read more


    Open or sparse deciduous woodland and mixed deciduous and conifer woods (e.g. of blue pine ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few details. In Pakistan, prefers smaller seeds, especially those of Compositae, and insects; strongly attracted to seed heads of thistles... read more


    No detailed studies; all data appear to have been incidentally gathered. Monogamous and breeds solitarily, although four or five pairs may... read more


    Resident and partial (principally altitudinal) migrant, perhaps even nomadic, e.g. in Pakistan.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally considered to be common, albeit only locally so in China and Pakistan, and uncommon in Nepal or usually scarce in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Eastern Goldfinch (Carduelis caniceps). 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 23 January 2020).