Caged birds: American goldfinch

Caged birds: American goldfinch

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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformi
Family: Finches
Kind: Goldfinch
Species: C. tristis Linnaeus, 1766

Small finch which in nature is distributed throughout southern Canada and also throughout the northern United States. It is a partial migratory bird, that is, all the populations distributed in the North, in the winter months they migrate to the South, up to the northern area of ​​Mexico. Its ideal habitat is made up of shrubs, bushy areas, bushes and undergrowth, but also open landscapes, which include grasslands, tundras and heaths. It belongs to the genus "Carduelis", the same genus as our local "Goldfinch" (Carduelis carduelis), which in Italy is classified as an indigenous bird, therefore not exotic.

American goldfinch - Carduelis tristis (photo

American Goldfinch male - Carduelis tristis (photo


Little bird about 13 cm long; unmistakable in its gaudy livery. The sexual dimorphism in this species is very evident, as the livery of the male is totally different from that of the opposite sex. During the breeding season the male sports a yellow and black plumage. Black is localized on the wings, tail and forehead. The black of the wings and tail is interrupted by white streaks. Locchio is black. The beak is rosy. The legs are dark. The yellow color of the plumage is the predominant color, which extends over almost the entire back, belly and chest. The plumage of the male, in the winter period is totally different from the spring-summer season, in fact in winter its predominant color is brown. The female has a brown color on the head and on the back, up to the tail, and on the chest and belly the color is not very bright yellow.


In their natural state, these birds live in small winter flocks, which move around to feed on grass seeds, tree buds and small insects. A granivorous bird cannot therefore be defined, because its diet also includes food of animal origin. In nature it builds open in the shape of a cup, which it slowly composes using herbs, stems and bark from the tree; the nest is usually placed between the branches of a tree, in a fork, rather hidden. In captivity it is not easy to reproduce this species, but there are also in Italy, many breeders who have managed to make them reproduce successfully. By now all the American Goldfinches present in Europe were born in captivity. With the C.I.T.E.S. which protects exotic species, the smuggling trade and the capture of these finches has almost completely ceased. It is not a bird suitable for a neophyte breeder, because to raise it it requires notions and knowledge that only an experienced breeder can have. As a basic diet we can supply the classic mix of canaries, with the integration of germinated or soaked seeds, and seeds of health. During reproduction the egg mash must never be missing and live prey, such as the moths of the flour, are also welcome, to provide nestlings with the right protein requirement. The female lays three to five eggs, which she hatches for a duration of about fourteen days. The male does not help the female much during hatching, but takes care of the young as soon as they come out of the nest. The juveniles have a rather rapid growth. If the couple is well-matched and well set, they can very well be allowed to play three consecutive broods.
In the context of ornithological exhibitions this species is not always present. There are several ornithological manifestations in Italy completely dedicated to the Finches, where it is possible to admire some specimens of this species. In any case, the American Goldfinch remains a poorly bred species in our country.

Card created by Federico Vinattieri

Video: GOLDFINCHES Guide to the ID of British Garden Birds (May 2022).