Scientific name: Carduelis spinus

Did you know: Siskins are unique in their feeding behaviour, often hanging upside down to reach seeds!

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

Siskins are small, lively finches, easily distinguished by their size, which is smaller in size than Greenfinch birds. The males sport a streaked yellowish-green body with a distinct black-coloured crown and bib, and both sexes boast yellow marks in their tails and wings, adding a splash of colour to their appearance. 

The forked tail and narrow bill are also key features aiding in their identification.

Differences Between Male And Female Siskins

Male Siskins have a bright yellow breast and cheeks set off by a striking black cap, whereas females tend towards a paler, more streaked appearance with subtle yellow touches. Both genders share the characteristic yellow-black striped wings, but the males’ more vivid colouring makes them stand out.

What Do Siskins Eat?

Siskins primarily feast on seeds, particularly those from conifers, alders, and birches. During the summer months, their diet is supplemented with some insects. This varied diet supports their energetic lifestyle, especially when feeding young or during migration.

Where Do Siskins Live? (inc. migration info)

Siskins are found in coniferous and mixed woodlands across the UK, flourishing particularly in Wales and Scotland. While many are resident breeders, the UK sees an influx of European Siskins in the winter. Their habitat choices can vary widely in the colder months as they search for food, even spending time around garden bird feeders.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Siskins)

Siskins possess a delightful song, a mix of twitters and trills that echo through their woodland homes. Their calls are distinctive, often characterised by a powerful, ascending or descending note. Listening to a chorus of Siskin songs is a truly enchanting woodland experience.

Fun Siskin Facts (kid friendly)

  • Siskins are smaller than a Greenfinch, between the sizeof a blue tit and a robin!
  • They are acrobatic feeders, often seen hanging upside down to reach seeds.
  • The male Siskin’s bright yellow chest and face stand out against his black chin and cap.
  • Siskins have a rapid, bounding flight pattern that is entertaining to watch.
  • They can often be found in large flocks, especially outside the breeding season.
  • Siskins are known to visit garden feeders, especially if you have nyjer seeds!
  • Despite their small size, their bright yellow and green plumage makes them easy to spot.
  • The best time to see them in the UK is all year round, with a peak in winter months.

Facts About The Siskin

Diet: Seeds, especially of conifers, alders and birch and some insects.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 12cm
Wingspan: 20-23cm
Weight: 12-18g
Scientific Name: Carduelis spinus

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

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December