[order] Passeriformes | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Serinus serinus | [UK] Serin | [FR] Serin cini | [DE] Girlitz | [ES] Verdecillo | [IT] Verzellino europeo | [NL] Europese Kanarie

Europese Kanarie determination

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Smaller than other west Palearctic serins but with proportionately long wings and deeply forked tail. Diminutive, stubby-billed, rather compact finch, epitome of genus. Adult has rather green, streaked upperparts with bright yellow rump. Male brilliantly yellow on forehead, face, throat, and breast. Female only dull yellow on face. Voice distinctive. Sexes dissimilar, no seasonal variation.

Confined to west Palearctic, originally in Mediterranean zone, spreading north in 19h century into temperate drier and warmer regions of C Europe, and continuing in 20h century to fringe of boreal and steppe zones, and sparsely toward oceanic margins. Vulnerable to cold wet weather and unable to cope with more northerly winters, or with higher altitudes except in S of range, where ascends to subalpine zone. Among trees and shrubs seems most at home in conifers, including various exotic forms. Shows marked preference for mosaic patterns of vegetation of diverse heights, spacing, and composition, avoiding dense or uniform examples, or large blocks.

Serinus serinus is a widespread breeder across most of Europe (except for the north and east), which constitutes >75% of its global range. Its European breeding population is very large (>8,300,000 pairs), and increased between 1970-1990. Although there were declines in France and Malta during 1990-2000, populations increased or were stable elsewhere in Europe-including the key Spanish population- and the species was stable overall.

Seeds and other plant material, occasionally small invertebrates. forages principally on herbs and on ground. Tree-foraging probably mainly in spring. Especially in winter, forages in large flocks, often with other seed-eaters. Feeds energetically and with agility like Linnet or Siskin.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 kmē. It has a large global population, including an estimated 17,000,000-40,000,000 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]

Nest building second half of May in Estonia, mid April-July in Germany, early May to July in France, mid March to mid April in Spain, from February in North Africa. Nest site, generally in conifer rather than broad-leaved tree, though also in bush, also commonly in fruit trees. Nest, small and compact, of fine twigs, stalks, sometimes strips of bark, roots, grass, moss, or lichen, lined neatly and thickly with rootlets, hair, feathers, plant down, etc. 2-5 eggs, sub-elliptical, smooth and slightly glossy. Pale bluish-white, sometimes greensh-white, sparsely spotted and streaked rusty and purplish, mostly at broad end, sometimes forming circle. Incubation, 11-13 days by female only.

Sedentary to migratory, wintering within and south of breeding range. Most birds vacate northern parts of range, but winter records show that small numbers remain, at least in some years. In centre and south of range, amount of movement masked by passage and arrivals from further north, but even in Mediterranean countries a considerable number are migrants. Main autumn heading south-west for west European birds and south for east European birds (reverse in spring). Autumn movement (August-)September-November, chiefly October. Spring movement February-May, chiefly March-April. In Britain, recorded in all months, with distinct peaks October-November and especially April-May. Long-term expansion of range across Europe shows marked north-east tendency (towards Leningrad region); expansion into Scandinavia slower, and still only sporadic in Britain, suggesting reluctance to cross open water.