Serinus serinus



The head is large, the bill is tiny and stubby, and there is a distinct fork in the tail. Males are vivid yellow on the head, back and breast; the back is streaky, underparts are whitish, flanks are striped, rump is yellowish, and has two pale white wingbars. Female resembles male, but her yellow is less vivid, though it is still quite bright on the rump and throat. Juveniles resemble females, but their yellow sections are brownish.


Nesting occurs where there is plenty of concealing foliage, including vineyards, gardens, and graveyards.


Resembles a Goldfinch when it takes to the air. A bird who likes company, nesting close to other Serins, and staying in small flocks when not breeding. Regularly feeds on the ground, but sings from a perch, and has a song flight that shoots acutely into the air and drifts down with spread wings.


Diet includes seeds from weeds and grasses including shepherd’s purse, dandelion, knotgrass. In spring it also feeds on buds of birch, beech and other bushes, and during summer, feeds on invertebrates such as aphids, caterpillars, beetles and spiders.


Female lays 3-5 eggs which she incubates for 12-14 days. Both parents tend to the young, which can fly at about 14-16 days old. Female may begin a second brood.


The Serin can be both sedentary and migratory, and it’s mostly birds in the north and east which migrate. Most often seen in the region on the return autumn migration in March and April, with numbers of around 60 per year.

Observation Tips

Jersey provides the best place to view this bird, but Devon and Dorset may also offer opportunities.


Has a shrill ‘tirrrlilit’ call, or a ‘prrrr’ sound. Song is very fast, with melodic and abrasive notes.
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