[order] Passeriformes | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Carduelis cannabina | [UK] Linnet | [FR] Linotte mélodieuse | [DE] Bluthänfling | [ES] Pardillo Común | [IT] Fanello | [NL] Kneu

Kneu determination

copyright: J. Rochefort

Slightly smaller than a sparrow, the linnet is an attractive finch, which was highly sought after as a cage bird in the 19th century for its pleasant melodious song. Males have chestnut backs and grey heads and during the breeding season they develop a striking pinkish-crimson crown and breast. Males, females and juveniles have white edges to the wings and tail.

The linnet is associated with lowland farmland and uses weedy fields, hedgerows, heathland, scrub and gorse thickets. It may also inhabit orchards, heathland, saltmarshes, gardens and parks

Carduelis cannabina is a widespread breeder across much of Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is extremely large (>10,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although it was stable or increased across much of Europe during 1990-2000, there were declines in several north-western European populations-most notably the sizeable one in France- and the species underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall.

Linnets are seed-eaters, they feed on over 46 types of seeds, a large proportion of which are from the cabbage family. The species gets its scientific and common names from its feeding habits; the generic name Carduelis derives from the Latin for thistle and 'linnet' derives from the Latin 'linum', which is flax, a seed plant that this bird once fed on

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 20,000,000-57,000,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Linnets tend to form groups of up to 20 individuals during the breeding season, which lasts from mid-April to the beginning of August. Nests are built in dense hedges, scrub or thorny trees. A typical clutch consists of 4-6 eggs and two to three broods can be produced in a season. The female incubates the eggs for 11-13 days, after which both parents provide food for the chicks.

Winters from British Isles and continental Europe s to n Africa and e to Pakistan, nw India and Nepal. (Sibley Charles G. 1996)