Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)


French: Chardonneret élégant German: Stieglitz Spanish: Jilguero europeo

Fringilla Carduelis


, 1758,



Usually considered conspecific with C. caniceps (which see). When placed in same genus as Linaria flavirostris brevirostris (as in HBW), name brevirostris in present species becomes preoccupied, and is replaced by loudoni. Name frigoris is a replacement name for major, preoccupied and replaced before 1961 and now permanently invalid#R. Has hybridized with Chloris chloris. Ten 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, rare, extreme 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 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, Egypt (Nile Delta and Nile Valley) and N Iraq.
  • C. c. brevirostris Zarudny, 1889 – E Turkey, Azerbaijan and N Iran; winters S to S Iran.
  • Introduced (nominate race) to Bermuda, Azores, Cape Verde Is, SE Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Uruguay, Argentina and various parts of USA.

    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 bill and notched tail. Male nominate... 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. Monogamous. Solitary or loosely colonial, up to five nests in same tree. Territorial, area of up to... read more


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

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to very common and widely distributed in W, local in E. Estimated European breeding population 7,177,000–9,775,000 pairs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). 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 9 April 2020).