Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)


French: Tarin des pins German: Fichtenzeisig Spanish: Jilguero de los pinos

Fringilla pinus

A. Wilson

, 1810,

Bush-hill, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Has hybridized with Loxia curvirostra. Geographical variation largely clinal. Outlying southern race perplexus presumed to hybridize with S. atriceps and has been speculated to be a subspecies of the latter#R, but recent detailed morphological#R and molecular#R studies strongly suggest that the grey-plumaged, weakly streaked perplexus is distinct from both S. spinus and S. atriceps, probably meriting species status; further analyses needed. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. p. pinus (A. Wilson, 1810) – Pine Siskin – CS & SE Alaska, Canada (S from S Yukon, C Manitoba and C Ontario, E to C & S Quebec and Newfoundland) and W & NE USA; non-breeding S to N & EC Mexico.
  • S. p. macropterus (Bonaparte, 1850) – N Baja California and NW & C Mexico (E to Veracruz).
  • S. p. perplexus van Rossem, 1938 – Chiapas Siskin – S Mexico (N & C Chiapas) and W Guatemala.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–13 cm; 11–18 g. Small to medium-sized, comparatively slender-billed, short-tailed and heavily streaked, drab-coloured finch with slightly forked tail. Male... read more


    Song, usually only from start of breeding season to completion of clutch, a long rambling jumble of... read more


    Mostly open coniferous forest, especially spruce (Picea) forest, also mixed deciduous and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds of various trees and other plants, also some buds and berries; small amount of insects. Seeds include those of alder, birch (... read more


    Season late Feb to early Sept; one brood, occasionally two, and may rear second brood at site farther N than first nest. Monogamous.... read more


    Resident and partial migrant; frequently irruptive. Most movements diurnal, and in irruption years... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, locally common or erratically common to abundant. Breeding-survey data in parts of USA breeding range indicate some decline of more than 7%... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. & de Juana, E. (2019). Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus). 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 5 December 2019).