Eurasian Siskin
Spinus spinus

– small passerine, much smaller than House Sparrow
– diurnal migrant, rarely nocturnal
– migrates in small to large, dense and messy flocks
– very vocal


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M 1CY, F
BIF2055, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
very compact finch, M (centre) with olive basic colouration, 1CY lacks black chin and forehead of AD M


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M
BIF2056, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
in M breast and belly unicoloured olive, streaking of underside restricted to rear flanks and vent


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2086, 10/12/2012, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
underside of F (left centre) light-grey with distictly broad dark streaking, olive tones missing or only faint on head and throat


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus
BIF2057, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
against light the silhouette with forked tail (shortest tail of the small finches) and translucent wingband (formed by yellow bases of remiges) are the most important features. M (lowest bird) with much broader wingband and extensive yellow in rectrices (sometimes hardly visible in folded tail) could therefore be confused with European Greenfinch but is much smaller


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2058, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
against light, olive tones not easy to recognise, but note jizz


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2059, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
bill longer than in most other finches


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2087, 10/12/2012, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
a mix of light-grey and olive, flocks usually consist of both sexes


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2060, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
often mixed with Common Redpoll or European Goldfinch, note the much shorter tail


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2061, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
in direct comparison slightly smaller than European Goldfinch
and Common Redpoll ssp. flammea (ssp. cabaret about the same size)


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2062, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
note the comparatively rounder head and longer rear end of the Common Redpoll (second from below)


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common Redpoll Acanthis f. flammea
BIF2063, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
flocks in flight very flustered and at greater distance colour and features not easy to observe, therefore best determined by voice


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2064, 27/12/2017, Storbeck, Germany, Roland Neumann


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call, song-like element
BIF2081, 31/12/2017, Darßwald, Germany, Patrick Franke


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, two different social calls
BIF2082, 31/12/2017, Darßwald, Germany, Patrick Franke
sometimes birds do more complex social calls or song-like elements in flight too, in that case an polyphonic upslur


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call, social call
Common Chaffinch Fringilla c. coelebs, flight call
BIF2085, 31/12/2017, Darßwald, Germany, Patrick Franke


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, song
BIF2076, 19/02/2017, Torgau, Germany, Patrick Franke


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call
Common Blackbird Turdus m. merula, excitement call
BIF2077, 28/10/2007, Torgau, Germany, Patrick Franke


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, social call
Common Chaffinch Fringilla c. coelebs, flight call
BIF2078, 27/10/2014, Werbeliner See, Germany, Patrick Franke


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, social call
BIF2079, 27/09/2016, Prerow, Germany, Patrick Franke

Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris, excitement call
BIF2080, 23/12/2006, Zingst, Germany, Patrick Franke

Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call, social call
BIF2083, 31/12/2017, Darßwald, Germany, Patrick Franke

Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, flight call, social call
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea ssp., flight call, social call
BIF2084, 31/12/2017, Darßwald, Germany, Patrick Franke

voice:
– very vocal
– very short, dry, broad-band flight call like ‘tet’, often delivered in fast series
– flight call not often used by single birds, but often in flocks
– social call a 300ms long, monophonic downslur, sounds very similar to Common Redpoll‘s upslur
– harmonics often not visible in sonagram
– more space between harmonics than in Common Redpoll (less nasal timbre)
– huge variation in flight calls due to ‘call matching’ between partners
and flockmates (Mundinger 1979)
– in addition, Eurasian Siskins sometimes sing during migration (autumn and spring)
– calls learned from parents or other birds near nest

comparison species:
Common Redpoll (v) (a)
Eurasian Twite (v) (a)
European Greenfinch (v)
Common Linnet (v) (a)
European Serin (v)

References:
Mundinger, P C 1979. Call Learning in the Carduelinae: Ethological and Systematic Considerations, Systematic Zoology, Vol. 28

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