T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis britannica)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Carduelis
Species: C. carduelis
Binomial name: Carduelis carduelis britannica
Common names: Goldfinch, Goldie

Goldfinches were introduced from the British Isles. The average Goldfinch is 12–13 cm long with a wingspan of 21–25 cm and a weight of 14 to 19 grams. The sexes are broadly similar, with a red face, black and white head, warm brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings. On closer inspection male Goldfinches can often be distinguished by a larger, darker red mask that extends just behind the eye. In females, the red face does not reach the eye. The ivory-coloured bill is long and pointed, and the tail is forked. Goldfinches in breeding condition have a white bill, with a greyish or blackish mark at the tip for the rest of the year. Juveniles have a plain head and a greyer back but are unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe.
The goldfinch's preferred food is small seeds such as those from thistles (the Latin name is from Carduus, a genus of thistles) and teasels, but insects are also taken when feeding young. They nest in the outer twigs of tall leafy trees, or even in bamboo, laying four to six eggs which hatch in 11–14 days. 
The eggs normally hatch within 24 hours of each other. The female broods the young for the first few days but rarely after the eighth day. At first the male feeds only the female which in turns feeds the young but later the male feeds the young itself. The young remain in the nest for about 14 days.  After leaving the nest the parents feed them for 2 to 3 weeks.  They can have two broods per season.

  

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