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Goldfinches in Ireland

Goldfinch perching

The goldfinch is one of Ireland's most widespread birds. It is a permanent resident however the native population may be swelled by winter migrants from Europe.

The goldfinch is a striking and highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch. It is a sociable bird and has a delightful liquid twittering song and call. Their long fine beaks allow them to reach otherwise inaccessible seeds from thistles and teasels.

Increasingly they are visiting bird tables and feeders in Irish gardens.

Irish Name for Goldfinch

The Irish name for the goldfinch is Lasair choille.

Goldfinch Feeding

A classic image of Goldfinches is one of them perched and feeding on a thistle. However Goldfinches feed on various tree seeds, such as alder and birch, as well as on thistle, teasel and dandelion seeds.

Niger seed and teasels may attract them in gardens, especially if there are no fields nearby with thistles and dandelions. They will also feed on sunflower hearts and will readily use peanut feeders.

Goldfinches will also feed on some invertebrates in the summer months.

Goldfinches Nesting

Goldfinch nesti with egg

Goldfinch eggs are 17mm X 13mm and weigh 1.5g of which approximately 5% is eggshell. They usually produce 5 eggs in each brood and up to three broods per year. Incubation takes about two weeks and in two and half weeks the chicks will have fledged.

Goldfinches build a cup-shaped nest that is built by the female alone using moss, grass and lichen, and usually lined with wool and plant down. The nest is usually constructed in a tree towards the end of a branch or in a bush, and often in large gardens and orchards, but also in open woodland and hedgerows.

The eggs are incubated by the females only however the chicks are fed by both parents.

Interesting Fact About Goldfinches

The collective noun for a group of Goldfinches is a charm.


Scientific Name:
Carduelis carduelis



Irish Status:
Resident. Some winter visitors from Europe.

Length: 12cm Wingspan: 24cm Weight: M & F: 17g

Call: Twitter. Beautiful song.

Habitat: Woodland, scrubland, farmland, urban areas.

Diet: Seeds and some invertebrates in Summer..

April & May
Breeding Age:
From 2 years
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
2 (occasionally 3)
Incubation (days):
13-15 days
Fledging (days):
14-17 days
2 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Goldfinch Range in Ireland

The goldfinch is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Goldfinches in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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