©Rachel Scopes


©Mark Hamblin/2020VISION


©Luke Massey/2020VISION


Scientific name: Spinus spinus
An attractive, green-and-yellow bird, the siskin regularly visits birdtables and feeders in gardens. Look for the bright yellow barring on its black wings, and the black crown of the males.

Species information


Length: 12cm
Wingspan: 22cm
Weight: 15g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


The siskin is a relatively common, small finch of conifer woodlands and some mixed woods. In the winter, they gather in groups with lesser redpolls and feed on seeds in birch and alder woodland, as well as at birdtables. Many of our breeding siskins are residents, but they are joined by birds from Europe in winter. The female siskin builds her neat nest high-up in a conifer tree, using twigs, lichen and feathers. She incubates the eggs alone (usually two to six in a clutch) but both parents feed the chicks.

How to identify

The siskin is a small, streaky green finch, with yellow bars on black wings. The male has a bright yellow chest and face, with a black chin and black cap. The female is grey-green and lacks the black cap.



Did you know?

The best way of attracting siskins into your garden is with Nyger seed in a special feeder. This is also a favourite food for goldfinches and lesser redpolls.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden birds by providing food and water for them. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food, feeders and other wildlife products, visit the Vine House Farm website ( - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm that gives 4% of every sale plus £10 commission for each new customer to The Wildlife Trusts.