Bird Families

American Siskin / Spinus tristis


Voiced bird siskin, active, courageous, has long and firmly won the sympathy of a person. The affectionate name siskin, the home keeping of birds confirm the interest and affectionate attitude towards the little inhabitant of coniferous forests.

Description and features

A small bird from the order of passerines, belongs to the family of finches, a relative of the goldfinch. The rounded body reaches a length of 12 cm, the weight of a bird is 10-16 g. The size of a siskin is similar to that of a sparrow. Wingspan - 20 cm. Long tail. The thin legs are equipped with hooked toes. The bird's eyes are coal-black. Unusual beak - thin, small, slightly convex in shape, well pointed.

The plumage is painted inconspicuously, but attractive siskin does not lose. The back is green-gray with the addition of olive, yellowish, brown shades. On the head there is a large cap of a resinous color, above the eyes there are yellow stripes resembling "eyebrows". The abdomen is light, decorated with specks, dark stripes. The tail is lemon yellow. Tail feathers with white border.

Males are brighter than females. In spring, the clothes of birds are especially variegated, saturated with colors. Bright siskin in the photo - this is a demonstration of the April dress of an adult bird. Siskins reach their plumage only at puberty. The color of the females is of dull tones, there is no black cap on the head. Sexual demorphism is reflected especially noticeably during the nesting period. Females brownish in color are not so noticeable during incubation of offspring in the nest. Emerald males are visible from afar.

Siskin - bird ringing, vociferous. Close-knit flocks are constantly echoing with various signals. Singing siskin has its own style of performance, but they are able to easily imitate other birds, especially tits. It's nice to listen to siskins in the forest. They create an atmosphere of joy, good mood.

In nature, siskins are very careful, hiding in high tree crowns. Many bird watchers have noticed that sometimes the bird allows you to get very close, showing curiosity and friendliness. Maybe that's why the cute siskin became the hero of stories and legends, songs and different stories. Siskin populations are numerous, do not cause concern for nature lovers, but some species are still protected.

Types of siskins

Siskin populations include approximately 30 million individuals. Bird watchers have 19 species that differ in distribution, color and behavior. Famous representatives of siskins can be found in coniferous forests, parks, but there are rare species living in places remote from people.

Golden siskin

Golden siskin. The second name is American goldfinch. The lemon color changes to a pale green hue during the hibernation period. With a cold snap, North American inhabitants fly to warm Mexico. In large flocks, in addition to siskins, related species, for example, tap dance, coexist. The most gullible, livable bird. In the house from the first days he feels confident, does not fear a person.

Mexican siskin. It lives in the subtropics, high in the mountains of North and South America from 900 to 2000 m. Below the color is yellow, and the back, wings, tail and head are black. Shows great care, it is difficult to see them in their natural environment. It keeps in small flocks. It feeds mainly on seeds in agricultural fields.

Mexican siskin

Pine siskin. Modest brown-yellow color, the belly is lighter than the back. Yellow strokes on the wings, tail. It lives in the mountainous regions of North America. Up to a hundred individuals gather in flocks.

Pine siskin

Fiery siskin. Protected species in Venezuela. The bright color is reflected in the coal-black wings, head, tail and carmine-red plumage of the breast and neck. White feathers on the belly and undertail. The size of the birds is slightly larger than the common representatives of the siskin. The handsome man is protected as a rare species.

Fire siskin male (right) and female

Lifestyle and habitat

The wide habitat of siskins makes it possible to observe birds almost everywhere. Various species are found in the European part of the continent, Asia, the British Isles, Brazil, South and North America. Siskin is a migratory bird, which tends to appear where warm seasons persist at any time of the year.

Listen to the voice of the siskin

The habitats are numerous. Birds prefer mountainous areas and settle in mixed forests. Siskin's voice can be heard in spruce forests, thickets of grass, shrubs. Closer to autumn, birds migrate, move short distances along river valleys closer to warmth and food. There is a dispute between ornithologists whether to consider siskins migratory or nomadic birds. Spring migrations occur in early March to late April, winter migrations - in late September and October.

With a cold snap, small birds appear in alder thickets, birch groves, city dwellers see them in parks and squares. If the siskins manage to find a non-freezing body of water, they can stay nearby for the winter. In warm areas, birds do not change their habitat.

In behavior, birds are very active, they can seem restless. The internal structure of the siskin is distinguished by cohesion, they stick together, they are always located nearby. Birds do not live alone. Even in the mating season, nests are built nearby; up to six settled pairs can be observed in neighboring trees.

Male (right) and female American Siskin

Siskins have a kind of food sharing, when food is “delivered” to other members of the flock by regurgitation of food. Birds stay higher from the ground, among the tops of trees, hiding in the crowns. You can see a siskin jumping on the ground only occasionally.

In captivity, siskins easily take root. They are recognized as the most "tame" in comparison with canaries, goldfinches and other birds among the singers. The chirping of the siskin creates a special atmosphere, does not get boring. The birds conquer with their quick wit and credulity. Sometimes they need to travel around the house to spread their wings, make small flights. They easily return to their abode with the understanding that this is their place.

Fidgets need a spacious cage for an active life. A bathing bath is required, except for a drinking bowl. Good conditions are conducive to breeding pets. You will need coniferous branches in the corner of the cage, a site for a nest, building material in the form of scraps of cotton wool, feathers, grass, moss. During the nesting period, the birds are not disturbed by cleaning, and the food is left at the wall opposite the nest. The chances of offspring increase when the conditions are met.

Siskin in flight

The home diet includes cereal mixtures, which can be based on millet, rapeseed, oatmeal, canary seed. Seeds of birch, alder, conifers, as well as dandelion, plantain, flax are useful for birds. They eat siskins with pieces of apples, carrots, they do not refuse garden greens.

Feeding chicks requires special animal supplements. If it is not possible to find insect larvae, then the food is enriched with a chicken egg. The boiled product is grated, mixed with chopped croutons, carrots.


In the natural environment, the diet of the siskin includes plant and animal food. In spring and summer, siskins feed on small insects, caterpillars, aphids, and butterflies. By autumn, as they mature, the seeds of deciduous and coniferous trees - alder, birch, poplar, fir, pine, spruce - become a treat for birds. Dandelions and poppy seeds are of nutritional value.

Chizhi eat sunflower seeds in winter

The thin pointed beak of the siskin allows you to extract the seeds of Compositae plants - thistle, cornflower, meadowsweet, sorrel. Birds get nuts from cones of coniferous plants. Hook-shaped claws keep birds on tree branches even hanging upside down.

Reproduction and life expectancy

Monogamous siskins are loyal to their partners for life. The search for a pair begins long before nesting. It's easy to recognize a bird in the mating season, so what does a siskin look like very smart and active - publishes endless trills, circles around the female with a raised tail. In the songs, you can hear a certain alternation of chirping, knocking and noises. If the female responds to the invitation, then she joins the flight, confirming her consent to the union.

Favorite nesting sites are the tops of conifers. The structure of twigs of plants, moss, grass, feathers is located so high, at least 10 meters from the ground, that you can only see the nest among the greenery by chance. The building material is supplied by the male, and female siskin is responsible for the structure of the structure. Inside, the bottom of the birds is lined with moss and down, sometimes small stones are brought. A German legend says that among such stones there is necessarily a magic one.

Birds are masters of disguise, the nests simply merge with the surrounding nature. Outside siskin's nest in the form of a bowl, shrouded in cobwebs, lichen, so that it is indistinguishable from trunks and large branches. There is a belief that the female during construction puts an invisible stone that hides the nest from prying eyes.

After the completion of the preparatory period in the nest, the female lays 5-6 pear-shaped eggs, colored blue-green. In a clutch, eggs can vary in color and size. Color options range from pale blue, pale green to white. The spots alternate with small stripes. In the season, siskins manage to lay one or two clutches - in April and late June.

Nest with American Siskin chicks

The female incubates eggs in the nest. The incubation period lasts 12 days. The male takes care of his partner's nutrition and safety. The danger comes from predatory owls and falcons attacking siskins. Eggs and newborn babies are especially vulnerable.

After hatching of small siskins for 2 weeks, parents tirelessly take care of the offspring, bring bugs, insect larvae, small caterpillars. Protein-rich animal food is essential for the crumbs to grow.

Sometimes the male still takes care of the first chicks, and the female begins to build a new nest nearby. When the plumage becomes lush, the babies leave the nest, but still return for reinforcement to the parents who feed the brood and help them become independent.

The life of siskins in natural conditions is short-lived - only 2-3 years, although ornithologists sometimes traced the life path of ringed birds up to 3-6 years. In captivity, the life of a pizza is longer - up to 9-10 years. The record holder is a pet that has lived for 25 years.

Massive populations of birds contribute to their survival, adaptation in different natural environments. Each siskin taken into the home environment becomes a unique pet and friend of the family.