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Serin

European Serin Male Serin Male
Small, bright yellow finch with darker streaked upperparts.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Serinus serinus
Length: 11 cm  (4½")
Wing Span: 20-23 cm  (8-9")
Weight: 11-14 g  (½ oz) Female
Like the male but duller.
Breeding Pairs: < 2
Present: Spring & Autumn
Status: Amber

Description

The Serin is a rare summer and passage visitor to southern England, usually seen in the spring and autumn.

Serins are small, short-billed yellow finches that may be confused with Siskins, juvenile Greenfinches and Canaries. Siskins and Greenfinches are both larger.

The male has green streaked upperparts and whitish underparts, which are also streaked on the flanks. The rump, head and breast are bright yellow.

The female is duller and browner.

Juveniles are brown-buff and heavily streaked.

The tail is deeply forked and the bill and legs are flesh-brown.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Call
  Quicktime mp3

Typically, the call is a series of twittering notes and the song is a longer version. The notes are often described as sounding like "crushing glass".

Feeding

Serins feed on seeds, especially those of weeds, birch, and alder.

Nesting

Since 1967 there have been a number of birds attempting to breed in southern England.

The female builds the nest, which is usually in a tree or bush in open woodland, scrub, or gardens. A few only breed in Britain and then usually along the south coast of England.

The nest is a neatly constructed cup of stems, roots, and moss that is lined with feathers and hair. 

The hen lays and incubates eggs that are smooth, glossy and pale light blue with purplish speckles. The eggs are about 17 mm long. Both parents feed the young after they have hatched.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
May 2 3-5 13 14

Movements

In Europe, Serins migrate south in the autumn, returning in the spring, and this is when they are most likely to be seen in Britain.

Conservation

This species has been spreading north through Europe for hundreds of years and it looked as though it was going to colonise Britain but has not done so. The Serin is a Amber-listed species of conservation concern owing to the small number of breeding pairs.

My Garden

Serins are very unlikely to be seen as far north as Sheffield. 


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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