Twite

Scientific name: Linaria flavirostris

Did you know: Twites, often called the ‘Linnet of the North,’ can form large flocks, especially in winter, sometimes joining other finches in coastal and marshland areas.

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

Twites are small, sturdy finches, easily identified by their brown, streaked plumage and shorter tails. What sets them apart is their distinctively stubby beaks and the seasonal colour changes of their bill – yellow in winter and grey in summer. 

These birds are around 14 cm in length, making them comparable in size to linnets but distinguishable by their lack of red markings.

Differences Between Male And Female Twites

While both sexes share a similar brown and buff-white colour scheme, males boast a more vibrant display. The most noticeable difference lies in their rump colour: males have a striking pink rump, whereas females display a more subdued brown.

What Do Twites Eat?

Twites have a diet primarily consisting of seeds. This preference for seeds remains constant throughout the year, influencing their habitat choices, especially during breeding and wintering seasons.

Where Do Twites Live? (inc. migration info)

Twites favour treeless moorlands for breeding, mainly found in the uplands of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland’s coasts, and are more widespread in Scotland. Their habitat extends to marine and intertidal areas, farmland, and grasslands. 

Although partially resident, many migrate south or towards the coast, with UK breeding pairs numbering around 10,000 and wintering populations reaching up to 150,000, including birds from continental Europe.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Twites)

The Twite’s call is a distinctive ‘twit’, which is the origin of its name. Their song comprises fast trills and twitters, adding a unique soundtrack to their habitats.

Fun Twite Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Twites can change the colour of their beak depending on the season – yellow in winter and grey in summer.
  • They are also known as ‘Mountain Linnets’ due to their preferred habitats.
  • A group of Twites is sometimes called a ‘band’.
  • Despite their small size, Twites can form large flocks, particularly in winter.
  • Twites have a special place in research, with several projects focused on them in the UK.
  • The UK’s Twite population is under threat, with a significant decline in recent decades.

Twite Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Twite

Diet: Seeds.
Bird Family: Finches
Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 22-24cm
Weight: 13-18g
Scientific Name: Linaria flavirostris

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

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