Serin (Serinus serinus)


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


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

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.

Listen to the sound of Serin


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 23 cm
size min.: 11 cm size max.: 12 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : West, Southwest, also North Africa


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.


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.

Feeding habits

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 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.
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.
Serin status Least Concern


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.

Distribution map

Serin distribution range map

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