The Goldfinch is 12-13.5 cm (4-5 inches) long and weighs 16 to 22 grams.
Sexes are alike, with a red face, black and white head, warm brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings. The ivory-colored bill is long and pointed, and the tail is forked.
Juveniles have a plain head and a greyer back but are unmistakable due to the yellow wing stripe.
Call / Song:
The call is a melodic tickeLIT. The song is a pleasant tinkling medley of trills and twitters, but always including the trisyllabic call phrase or a teLLIT-teLLIT-teLLIT.
Mutations/Sub-species:The European Goldfinch comes in a variety of mutations including: Tawny, Agate, Isabella, Pastel, Satinè, Yellow, Opal and Albino. The sub-species include: American Goldfinch (Carduelis Tristis) and the Himalayan Goldfinch (Carduelis Caniceps).
The Himalayan resembles the European Goldfinch except that it has an absence of black markings and tawny plumage is replaced with grey. Goldfinches have been cross breed with Canaries, Siskins and Linnets.
Diet:A good Goldfinch diet must include a mixture of millets, cereal seeds, canary grass seeds, green food and live food. Sprouting seed is the simplest way to provide your birds with fresh greens and make a great weaning food. These birds are especially fond of Safflower, and Thistle.
Compatibility:European Goldfinches can be kept in a mixed aviary with birds of similar size or in individual pairs.
Housing:Many European Goldfinches are housed in individual breeding cages much like Canaries. However, they will thrive in a large planted aviary with plenty of room to fly and sing. These birds are quite the acrobat and can be seen hanging upside down on perches and twirling off one perch to another.