Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)


[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Carduelis cannabina | [UK] Linnet | [FR] Linotte melodieuse | [DE] Bluthanfling | [ES] Pardillo Comun | [NL] Kneu


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

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.

Listen to the sound of Linnet


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 22 cm wingspan max.: 26 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 10 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : widespread, also Northwest Africa and Canary Islands


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


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.

Feeding habits

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 an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Linnet status Least Concern


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

Distribution map

Linnet distribution range map

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