Linnet Carduelis cannabina

The linnet is a common, small finch of heathland, scrub and farmland. Linnets feed on seeds and are present all year-round. Linnet males have brown backs, grey heads and pink foreheads and chests. Females are paler, streaky and lack the pink patches.

Behaviour

In winter, they may form large flocks with other seed-eaters, roaming the countryside and feeding on stubbles, saltmarshes and wasteland. Linnets build neat, bowl-shaped nests, often in gorse bushes or in hedgerows. They have an undulating and somewhat erratic flight. Linnets were once popular cage birds due to their melodious song.

Size

Length: 14cm

Wingspan: 24cm

Weight: 19g

Average Lifespan: 2 years

Status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Distribution

Widespread.

When to see

January – December

Facts

  • Linnets are named after their favourite food: seeds. Linseed is the seed of flax, giving the bird its common name, while the Latin name ‘cannabina’ refers to Hemp.

Common name

Linnet

Species name

Carduelis cannabina

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Bawsinch & Duddingston or Longhaven Cliffs

Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list Subscribe now

Back to top