Country of Origin: Most European Countries
Males Size: 12-13.5 cm in length with a wingspan of 21–25 cm
Female Size: 12- 13.5 cm in length with a wingspan of 21-25cm
Weight: 16-22g
Also known as: Goldfinch
Care Requirements: Low
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Best Suited as: Pets

The European Goldfinch, often called the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) came to Australia in the mid-19th century and is one of the only true finches that reside there. While mostly still found in the wild, they are colorful birds with a spirited song and make a nice musical addition to any family.

It is difficult to tell the male and female Goldfinch apart, as they appear nearly identical. Both sexes have black wings with a distinct yellow stripe, red mask-like faces, black and white heads, ivory bills, and brown and white upper and under parts. The tail is notched and mostly black with a white tip. The Goldfinch bill is long and sharp, allowing them to extract seeds from thistles and teasels.Occasionally a male displays a larger, darker red mask that stretches past his eye while a female’s mask rarely reaches that far.

Juvenile Goldfinches have a similar appearance with a plain head and more grey on their backs.

Breeders have developed a variety of color mutations – tawny, yellow, albino and pastel.

Goldfinches tend to be mild mannered, independent creatures, although they do best when they live in a pair. They get along well with other birds and are rarely aggressive. They should not be housed together with other pairs of Goldfinches, especially when mating.

If you have the interest, your Goldfinch can be taught a number of tricks and are known to be almost acrobatic at times.

The Goldfinch is easy to care for but your Goldfinch’s diet needs special attention. While mostly on a seed diet, its diet should also include millets, eggfood, green food (carrot tops, dandelion, lettuce, and fresh sprouts) and live food (mealworms and fruit fly larva). Some bird nutrition experts advocate for feeding your birds sprouted or germinated seeds instead of fresh vegetables and fruits. Your finch will always need plenty of fresh water, grit and cuttlebone.

Your bird’s seed mix is available at most pet store and most storeowners will steer you towards a high-grade mix most likely containing thistle seed. For entertainment purposes, you can also have your little acrobat try a millet spray that he will love hung from his perch.

Your bird will need little grooming although may need her nails trimmed from time to time. This is accomplished by holding your Goldfinch firmly without fear of getting pecked or bitten.

Goldfinches tend to be higher maintenance when they are mating. Their diet need to be more restrictive, higher in protein and more and fresh produce needs to be introduced. If you breed your Goldfinch pair, you are likely to have a clutch of 3-7 eggs which hatch in approximately 14 days.  Interestingly, your male Goldfinch will most likely be the one to feed the babies.

While European Goldfinches prefer to fly free in large planted aviaries, they will tolerate large indoor flight cages as well. They enjoy flying from perch to perch so make sure their cage is free of items that may get in the way of them stretching their wings. The size of the cage should be a minimum of 30 cm x 45 cm for a pair. It should be placed in a well-lit area at eye level but not where there will be drafts. The cage needs to be washed every week and the paper and grit should be changed several times a week.

If you have fortunate to have an aviary for your pet Goldfinch, they can be housed with other birds of similar size. It is best not to keep them with parrots, lovebirds and parakeets, however.

Health Issues
There are not many common types of illnesses known to be a problem for Goldfinches. Most injuries and sickness come from neglect or ignorance on the part of their owner. If their cage is not cleaned often (perches need to be disinfected, too!) then sickness can be a problem. Broken wings are also likely if cages are too small or there are too many impediments in their cages and enclosures. Finches eat a regimented diet and poor nutrition can result. Iodine deficiency is also more common in Australian Goldfinches, which can cause poor feather condition, difficulty molting, breathing and infertility problems.

Scaly Leg Disease also occurs in European Goldfinches and can be detected by checking for large lumps on your bird’s legs and feet. This disease is often caused by Knemidokoptes mites and should be treated quickly.

Suitability as a Pet
If you are searching for a companion bird, this is not your best bet. Unlike parrots and parakeets, Goldfinches do not require daily interaction with their owners and are best for those who just enjoying bird watching. They are highly independent and do not like to be confined for long periods, so allowing them room for flight is very important. They are inexpensive and often compared to canaries and are sometimes mated with them as well.

Their lovely twittering songs are distinct will fill the air, with a melodic tickeLIT sound. The males songs tend to more vibrant than their female counterparts. Owners rarely get tired of hearing these melodic songs.