Scientific name: Serinus serinus

Did you know: The Serin, a small and vibrant bird, has been a rare summer and passage visitor to southern England since the 1960s, with only a handful of breeding pairs each year!

What Do Serins Look Like? (how to identify them)

Serins are petite finches characterised by their forked tails and stubby bills. They sport streaked yellow and brown upper parts, with paler streaks underneath and a distinctive lemon-yellow rump. 

Males boast a strikingly bright yellow head, adorned with darker marks atop and below their eye. 

In contrast, females and young birds are more subdued in colour, presenting a browner, less distinctive appearance. These charming birds are the smallest species within the finch family, measuring about 11 to 12 cm in length, with a wingspan ranging from 18 to 20 cm and weighing between 12 and 15 grams.

Differences Between Male And Female Serins

Males are easily distinguished by their more vivid colouration. They feature a brighter yellow-coloured face and breast, along with yellowish wing bars and tail sides. 

Females, however, tend to be duller and browner. Juveniles mimic the female’s colour palette, displaying a brown-buff hue heavily streaked across their bodies.

What Do Serins Eat?

Serins are primarily seed eaters, with a diet that includes a variety of seeds, buds, and small invertebrates. During the mating season, their diet expands to incorporate insects, catering to the nutritional needs of their young.

Where Do Serins Live? (inc. migration info)

Serins breed across southern and central Europe, and even North Africa. While populations along the southern and Atlantic coasts are mostly resident, northern breeders exhibit migratory behaviour, moving further south in Europe during winter. 

Their preferred habitats include open woodlands, often with a mix of conifers, as well as cultivated areas. In the UK, these birds have been sporadically breeding since the 1970s, primarily in southern regions like Devon, Dorset, Sussex, East Anglia, and the Jersey.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Serins)

Serins are known for their distinct calls and songs. Their call is a combination of twittery notes, often likened to the sound of “crushing glass.” The male’s song is heard as a buzzing trill, a familiar sound in Mediterranean countries and a delightful auditory marker of this species.

Fun Serin Facts (kid friendly)

  • Despite their small size, Serins have a wingspan of up to 20 cm!
  • They can often be heard before being seen, thanks to their loud, scratchy songs.
  • Serins build neat cup-shaped nests in trees or bushes, using stems, roots, moss, feathers, and hair.
  • These birds are closely related to the Atlantic canary – another brightly coloured finch.
  • The male Serin’s bright yellow plumage is especially vibrant during the breeding season.
  • Juvenile Serins start out with a brown-buff colour and are heavily streaked.
  • Serins have been gradually spreading north through Europe for hundreds of years.
  • The Serin’s diet changes with the seasons – seeds in winter and insects during the breeding season.

Facts About The Serin

Diet: Seeds, buds and small invertebrates.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 11-12cm
Wingspan: 18-20cm
Weight: 12-15g
Scientific Name: Serinus serinus

The Serin Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April

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