goldfinch bird


What is one of the birds most desired by poultry lovers? Without a doubt the goldfinch, one of the most beautiful animals because of the colours of its feathers and the harmony of its singing.

What is a goldfinch?

Known by the scientific name Carduelis carduelis, and the common name cardelina, it is a bird belonging to the family of the fringlilides. Most commonly seen in the western Palearctic, both in Europe and in North Africa and parts of Asia near the west.

In Spain in 2003, almost 2.8 million specimens were recorded, making it one of the largest colonies in the world. They are very similar to the canaries, but with a touch a little more wild that makes it a little different.

exotic bird goldfinch

The goldfinch communities are found mainly in forests, fields, agricultural areas, parks and gardens, as well as in any herbaceous areas, especially if there are thistles in the area, the preferred food of this species. He has a great predilection for warm environments.

What does a goldfinch look like?

The goldfinch is a small bird, measuring between 12-13.5 centimeters. It can weigh a maximum of 19 grams, although it is normal for it to weigh up to 14 grams.

If there is anything that characterizes him, it is the red facial mask and the black wings with a yellow strip. In adult specimens, the plumage takes on a tricolour appearance with a black and white cephalic pattern. The beak is a simple beak, adapted to your diet.

bird exotic

In the case of younger specimens, the wings are identical to those of adults, but the head and body are brownish grey, acquiring the typical tricolour cephalic colour after passing through the first moult in autumn. There are varieties of plumage, but everything depends on the time and cycle of moulting.

It is a difficult bird to differentiate the female from the male, since there is hardly any sexual dimorphism. However, the male usually has a greater amount of red on his face and the nasal nibs are darker. This might help a little to differentiate it from the female in the case of wanting to reproduce the species. However, the best way to distinguish them is still to use DNA testing.

How long can a goldfinch live?

Compared to other birds such as the parrot or the macaw, the life expectancy of the goldfinch is very short. Normally, their average life span is between 8 and 10 years, although some specimens have been seen that have reached the age of 12 years.

However, when they reach the age of 12, it has also been proven that goldfinches begin their old age at an accelerated rate until their death, which can happen within a few months. A great curiosity of the males is that they can mate with canaries without problems.

What is the character of this bird like?

The goldfinch is a very active and cheerful bird. She loves to sing and move from place to place in the cage or along the branches of the trees when she is free.

singing bird

As a roommate he couldn’t be better, as he’s quite fond of his owner and loves to brighten up his day with music. Also, if you get used to it from an early age, you can imitate the rhythm of a song you’ve heard a lot.

Is it true that having a female goldfinch is a crime?

In some countries it seems that if it is considered a crime because of the indiscriminate hunting this bird has had, it is a crime. Therefore, before you think about bringing a bird of this species into your home, you should check the country’s legislation to see if it is legal or, on the contrary, you could be committing a crime.

There is a way to be able to have the female, but to do this you have to consider your home as an authorized breeding center, and in many cases the possibility of having a female in your hands is denied, so you have to be very careful with this point.

However, in some areas it is also a crime to have a male, especially if he has been bought. To avoid getting into trouble and receiving a report from someone to the SEPRONA, you should never buy a goldfinch that does not have a ring, because it means it has been caught illegally. Also, if the seller does not have a silvertrista license, you should not rely too much on the bird’s origin.

Despite the fact that this species is widespread throughout the world, indiscriminate hunting is rapidly depleting the population, which has led to very harsh initiatives being taken against those who catch these birds. Being forbidden:

  • Capture female birds. If they do, they have to be released to allow the species to subsist.
  • It is not possible to capture a nest of pigeons, being considered a serious crime that can lead to imprisonment.
  • If you are not an experienced wild bird hunter, it is forbidden to hunt these birds unless you are accompanied by an experienced one.
  • The sale of these birds without being an approved Sylvester by the corresponding organization. If these birds were sold without this title, they would be committing a serious offence that could result in a high fine or imprisonment for a crime against nature.

I want to get along with my new bird, what do I have to do?

Although very few people generally waste their time training their goldfinch, it is not impossible to obtain a small relationship with this bird that is beneficial to both of them. The first thing to do is to locate the cage well, to prevent the goldfinch from being frightened and from being in the main centre of activity of the house.

At first, the bird may seem scared, which is quite normal, but little by little, it goes by the cage until it gets used to your presence. It is possible that over time it will approach the walls of the cage when it sees you appear. However, it’s not the time to touch it yet, so don’t be surprised if you try, you’ll end up with a good peck.

To get him on your finger, the first thing you have to do is to gain his trust. Getting it will take time, so be patient. Open the door of the cage and put thistle seeds in your hand, his favorite food, so that he can slowly come closer and eat them. At first it may not come close, but don’t be afraid, it will sooner or later do so.

two goldfinch flying

Once he eats them out of your hand, put his finger up on it. If it doesn’t, push it a little bit when it’s on the sling bar and it will change directly to your finger for a foothold. Don’t do anything on the first day, but the next day you can try stroking her belly or head.

After a few days, you’ll be able to get him out of the cage, but don’t be surprised if he flies away to explore what’s around him. Very few people let him move around the house freely, as an oversight can lead to his escape through an open window. In case he flies out, don’t yell at him or try to catch him. Let him go back to his cage alone, leaving his favorite food in it and then close the door.

Ready to have a goldfinch, what does his cage have to be like?

Although it may seem that the goldfinch is a small bird, the truth is that it needs a large cage, especially wide, as it likes to fly around it to stretch its wings. So, you should buy a cage that is 100 cm wide, 60 cm high and 80 cm deep, so you have plenty of room to move around. In addition, it is important that the bar is a maximum width of 12 mm and that the distance between them does not exceed 1 cm, in order to prevent the bird from getting stuck between the bars.

Be very careful when buying the cages, since as a general rule for this bird we offer small cages and you never have to buy them to keep them at home, unless you are going to transport them out to participate in a competition or to take them to the vet. In addition, you should avoid at all costs oval cages or cages shaped like a house. Always choose square or rectangular.

The material is also very important, as there are some that are very toxic to these small animals, such as zinc, so always opt for a stainless steel one. Also, make sure you have a good tray at the bottom of the tray that can be easily removed for cleaning. The next aspect is the doors. Goldfinches are small birds, so they could try to escape through the doors where you put the trough and the watering trough, getting stuck in the process and could be killed. So, to avoid this little problem, it’s best to buy a watering trough and trough that hooks from the outside and that there is only one door you can reach through.

The hangers you buy are best made of natural wood, as the plastic hangers that come with the cages are not good for filing the claws. Three hangers should be enough to keep you moving around. With toys, a rope or ladder might be enough, although it’s okay if you have something you can chew on, as long as it’s rubber and quality.

In summer, although it is a bird accustomed to hot environments, it is a good idea to put a cup of cold water in the cage, so that you can take a bath whenever you want. Then remove the cup and put it back in, with clean water, the next day.

Is it difficult to locate a goldfinch’s cage?

In order to locate the goldfinch cage you only have to follow the same guidelines as for the rest of the birds. The first thing to do is to avoid an area of the house where there are many drafts, as the goldfinch could catch a cold and fall ill. Nor should you be in an area where it’s too hot or sunny for hours. Well, he could die of heat stroke.

Avoid at all costs putting it on balconies, as traffic noise could stress it out and it is not a good place for a bird cage, even though it is popular belief. Also don’t put it near the TV because of the flashes on the screen that could be harmful to it or in the kitchen, where it could get intoxicated by the smoke from what you cook.


The best place will always be the living room, because this is where you can have the most social life, and in this way you can establish links with your family members. In addition, the cage should be at eye level to prevent the goldfinch from feeling intimidated or showing signs of rebellion towards its owner.

The goldfinch’s cage has to be cleaned. What do I do?

Goldfinches are very clean birds, so your home needs to be cleaned thoroughly. To begin with, the tray on which you make your needs must be changed every two or three days. You can use newsprint to make it easier or sand. The feeder and watering trough should be changed daily and cleaned thoroughly at least once a week to prevent parasites that could attack the goldfinch from developing.

bird drinking

As far as the cleaning of the cage is concerned, it has to be done twice a month. Using bleach diluted in water to clean the bars well. The bird should be out of the cage, in another cage or loose if you already have confidence in it, because the bleach is toxic to it. After thorough cleaning, soak it in water and then wipe it dry.

It is very important that the goldfinch can bathe himself in his cage, as this also helps to prevent the appearance of parasites. In the shops there are many “bathtubs” for small birds. Prepare a water bath with a few drops of apple vinegar and you won’t have to worry about parasites.

And what do I feed my goldfinch?

The goldfinch is a granivorous bird and feeds especially on seeds. There are already foods in the shops that have different combinations of seeds so that you can feed this type of bird, however, it is always good to prepare some homemade combination to have it ready.

The goldfinch especially likes the seeds of the thistles, which are also very rich in nutrients and antioxidants. However, he cannot be fed solely on this seed, however rich it may be for him. For this reason, give her seeds of other plants such as shepherd’s bag, purslane, poppy, sunflower, dandelion or oats. These seeds can be given throughout the year and on a daily basis without any risk, as long as the recommended daily dose is not exceeded.

It is best to prepare a combination that has canaryseed, canola, rapeseed, black lettuce, white lettuce, oatmeal, sesame, poppy, poppy, goatee, cane and oatmeal decorticated together with a little thistle seed to ensure that you have the necessary dose of nutrients and vitamins in your daily life.

It is a bird that also eats some vegetables such as endive, tomato or lettuce, which should be well chopped so you do not have many problems eating them and a couple of times a week. They also like fruits such as oranges, pears, apples and strawberries, which are a very rich source of vitamins for this bird. At least three times a week this bird has to take a combination of fruits, which can be a perfect substitute for the seeds.

Enhance your relationship with your goldfinch

Although it’s true that the goldfinch is not as close to an animal as an agapornis, it does like to be motivated to be happy by something. At the end of the day, being locked in a cage is not something that will make you very happy in your day to day life.

Thus, one of the options is to offer a cage companion to the bird, especially if it is imprinted, so that it does not feel alone. It’s best if it’s another bird of the same species, but it also gets along well with canaries and birds of a similar size. Another option is to use relaxing music, like classical music, a kind of music they love to listen to because it relaxes them.

natural bird

Of course, there is always another option, and that is to establish a human-pet relationship with the bird so that it never feels alone when it sees someone around the house. It’s not too difficult, but it does require a little patience.

What kind of diseases can he have?

One of the primary causes of mortality of these birds in captivity is disease, especially due to carelessness on the part of their owners. This is the list of the most common diseases of these birds.

goldfinch in ice

  • Coccidiosis: Usually occurs when food or water contaminated by saliva from sick animals has been taken. The goldfinch will have bloody diarrhea, lose weight, drool in its beak and die within days of symptoms. To avoid this, it is best to clean and disinfect the cage on a regular basis.
  • Colibacillosis: As a general rule, it is caused by eating contaminated food and liquids, causing the bird to lose its appetite, green diarrhea and presenting a duller character. It can usually be treated with medication. Mortality does not exceed 50% of cases, but it can be transmitted to humans, so great care must be taken.
  • Enteritis: Inflammation of the intestine causes the bird to feel dry, so it will start drinking heavily even though it will lose its appetite. He’ll be listless with the owner and will be asleep most of the time. It is often caused by parasites, poor quality food, or infection. It can be cured with antibiotics.
  • False molt: Goldfinches molt once a year, but you may suddenly see their feathers dropping in the summer. This is often due to a lack of hygiene or a mistake in their diet. We need to give him some poly vitamin in the water.
  • External parasites: If the cage is not well cared for or fed, the goldfinch may have external parasites such as mites or lice. In these cases, a sprayer must be used to remove them.
  • Pneumonia: Remember that when placing the goldfinch cage, it must be avoided in an area with strong air currents. If you eat this mistake, the bird will begin to have trouble breathing with a lot of mucus in the nostrils, will breathe with its beak open and will be as if it were turned off. He needs to be given warmth and an antibiotic to help him recover.
  • Salmonellosis: Generally, this disease is contracted when they eat infected food or water (or when the food has been in the trough for a long time). It is also transmitted through contact with infected birds. Among the symptoms, the most common is heavy diarrhea. Bird death and transmission to man are possible. You should go to your vet for treatment immediately.
  • Worms: Yes, birds can also have worms such as cestodes or roundworms. Especially they appear due to poor cleaning of their cage. Among your symptoms, you will lose your appetite, which will lead to weight loss, you will be tired and your stools will show small white particles. You’ll have to talk to your vet about treating him.
  • Diphtheria: It is a deadly disease that is transmitted by direct contact with another infected specimen. The feathers will lose their color, you will have diarrhea, it will be hard to breathe and it is very possible that you will end up dying. Only an experienced veterinarian can help the bird survive.
  • Acariasis of the legs: Rough, grayish scabs will begin to appear on the legs, with deformation of the same. This is usually caused by poor cleaning of the bottom of the cage, so special ointments should be applied to help remove them.
  • Cysts: It is normal for a goldfinch to have cysts because it has been inherited from one of its parents. Among the symptoms, you will begin to have subcutaneous swelling in your back and wings. They need to be removed, but only an experienced vet can do it.

I want my goldfinch to reproduce, what do I need to know?

First of all, remember that having a female in captivity, unless permission has been obtained, is a crime. The second thing is that goldfinches can breed twice a year, in mid-March-April and then in spring. It is rare that they reproduce three times in the same year, but not impossible.

To make it easier for a couple to reproduce, it is best to put them in a separate module, with a large wooden nest for a little privacy. After copulation, the female will spend 6 – 10 days in the nest until she lays 5 or 6 white eggs, although some may have red dyes. Once this is done, the female will begin the incubation process between 12 and 15 days, during which time she is fed by the male.

possing goldfinch exotic

When the chicks are born, they do not have feathers, they are deaf and blind, so they are fed by their parents until 15 days, at which time they obtain their feathers, so they can be passed to an independent cage if desired. It is in the autumn moult that they obtain their final plumage.