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Goldfinches are attracted to back gardens with specially designed birdfeeders containing Niger seed, which seems irresistible to goldfinches. British Bird Food also have their own Goldfinch food, called Finch Food, which is a special blend of seeds for all species of Finch, and will attract a wider variety of Finch to your garden.

Goldfinches are commonly kept and bred in captivity around the world because of their distinctive appearance and pleasant song. In some countries, the Goldfinch males are crossed with Canary females, that often capture the best singing attributes of both breeds.
Their diet in the wild is small seeds such as thistles and teasels, (similar to Niger seed) but insects are also taken when feeding young. It also regularly visits garden bird feeders in winter. They nest in the outer twigs of tall leafy trees,

In the winter they group together to form flocks of up to about 40 birds, occasionally more. A flock of Goldfinches is called a charm. Many UK goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain.

Quick Facts


Status in UK
Resident Breeder/Migrant



Number of broods

Conservation Status UK

Number in Britain

14-17 days

Age at First Breeding
1 year

First clutch laid
Late April

Typical Lifespan
2 years

Maximum Recorded Age
8 years, 8 months

Woodland, farmland, open country .Also found in Reed beds

First Record
8th Century

Egg Size

Egg Weight
1.5 g

Clutch Size
5 eggs

13-15 days

  • Some old rural names for Goldfinches are King Harry, Gold Linnet, Redcap, Goldie. One old name, Thistle Finch, indicates the bird’s favourite food.
  • Carduelies  carduelies is the scientific name of the Goldfinch.  It is derived from the Latin Carduus, meaning  thistle
  • Young Goldfinches are known as grey pates because they lack the red face of the adult.
  • There are just three species of Goldfinches in the world including two species in America.
  • In spring they will eat small insects, although they are primarily vegetarian, feeding on seeds.
  • After rearing two sometimes three broods, the Goldfinch start flocking as they are highly social birds.
  • Many thousands of birds may, from time to time, flock in the autumn.
  • The collective name for the Goldfinch is a ‘charm’. This describes the birds’ twittering song.
  • The male Goldfinch has a longer beak than the female and so can feed on teasels, something the female rarely tries to do.
  • Numerous European flocks are migratory  flying to the Mediterranean for the winter.

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