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 putative 2CY, F
BIF2055, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
– very compact finch
– M (centre) with olive basic colouration


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M
BIF2056, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
– 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 distinctly broad dark streaking
– in F olive tones missing or only faint on head and throat


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus
BIF2057, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
– against the light the silhouette with forked tail (shortest tail of the small finches) and translucent wingbar are the most important features
– M (lowest bird) with much broader wingbar and extensive yellow in rectrices (sometimes hardly visible in folded tail)
– possibly confusable with European Greenfinch but much smaller


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


Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus M, F
BIF2059, 01/01/2018, Parkentin, Germany, Roland Neumann
– bill proportionally 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 tones, 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 redpolls Acanthis sp. 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 the longer rear end of Common Redpoll (second from bottom)


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 appear very flustered and at greater distance plumage and other features not easy to observe, therefore best identified by voice and flocking behaviour


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 utter more complex social calls or song-like elements in flight too, in the latter 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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