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Birds Guide


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The European Goldfinch belongs to a group of red- or yellow-faced species.
The European Goldfinch belongs to a group of red- or yellow-faced species.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Carduelis
Brisson, 1760
Many, see text
(but see article text)

The genus Carduelis[1] is a large group of birds in the finch family Fringillidae. It includes the greenfinches, redpolls, goldfinches, linnets, the twite and the non-African siskins. No species of this group ranges far into Africa (where they are replaced by the related genus Serinus), and the centers of evolution were probably Eurasia and North America, with a secondary radiation in the Neotropics.

The interrelationship of these species is complex and contentious. It is fairly certain that the crossbills are actually derived from proto-redpoll ancestors quite recently, and it was suggested that they should be placed into this genus. On the other hand, the greenfinches (which are apparently the most distinct group) and the redpolls have themselves been separated in distinct genera which might be the best way to express both the actual evolutionary relationships and the evolutionarily significant distinctiveness of the crossbills. The molecular data indicates that the major lineages split in the Late Miocene (Tortonian, roughly 9-7 mya), but it is unable to suggest any one robust arrangement either of the major groups among each other or among the lineages of Carduelis sensu stricto. As only the mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence has hitherto been studied (Arnaiz-Villena et al., 1998), more data is clearly necessary.

Here, the species of Carduelis sensu lato are listed according to current knowledge. The genus Carduelis sensu stricto could conceivably be split further, and in this case only the European Goldfinch and the Citril and Corsican Finch (newly placed in his genus) would remain in Carduelis.



(Sub)Genus Chloris

  • Black-headed Greenfinch, Carduelis ambigua
    European Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris
    Oriental Greenfinch, Carduelis sinica
    Vietnamese Greenfinch, Carduelis monguilloti
    Yellow-breasted Greenfinch, Carduelis spinoides
    The Desert Finch, Carduelis obsoletus, has recently turned out be a primitive form in this group (Zamora et al., 2006).


(Sub)Genus Acanthis

  • Arctic Redpoll, or Hoary Redpoll, Carduelis hornemanni
    Common Redpoll, or Mealy Redpoll, Carduelis flammea
    Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret


(Sub)Genus Loxia

  • 3 - 5+ species

Carduelis sensu stricto

Carduelis group

  • European Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis
    Citril Finch, Serinus citrinella
    Corsican Finch, Serinus corsicana

Linaria group

Linnets and Twite

  • Eurasian Linnet, Carduelis cannabina
    Warsangli Linnet, Carduelis johannis
    Yemen Linnet, Carduelis yemenensis
    Twite, Carduelis flavirostris

American goldfinches and Eurasian siskin

  • American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis
    Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria
    Lawrence's Goldfinch, Carduelis lawrencei
    Eurasian Siskin, or Spruce Siskin, Carduelis spinus
    Pine Siskin, Carduelis pinus

Neotropical siskins

  • Andean Siskin, Carduelis spinescens
    Antillean Siskin, Carduelis dominicensis
    Black Siskin, Carduelis atrata
    Black-capped Siskin, Carduelis atriceps
    Black-chinned Siskin, Carduelis barbata
    Black-headed Siskin, Carduelis notata
    Hooded Siskin, Carduelis magellanica
    Olivaceous Siskin, Carduelis olivacea
    Red Siskin, Carduelis cucullata
    Saffron Siskin, Carduelis siemiradzkii
    Thick-billed Siskin, Carduelis crassirostris
    Yellow-bellied Siskin, Carduelis xanthogastra
    Yellow-faced Siskin, Carduelis yarrellii
    Yellow-rumped Siskin, Carduelis uropygialis


  • Arnaiz-Villena, A.; Álvarez-Tejado, M.; Ruiz-del-Valle, V.; García-de-la-Torre, C.; Varela, P.; Recio, M. J.; Ferre. S. & Martínez-Laso, J. (1998): Phylogeny and rapid Northern and Southern Hemisphere speciation of goldfinches during the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 54(9): 1031–1041. DOI:10.1007/s000180050230 PDF fulltext. Erratum, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 55(1): 148. DOI:10.1007/s000180050280 PDF fulltext
  • Zamora, Jorge; Lowy, Ernesto; Ruiz-del-Valle, Valentin; Moscoso, Juan; Serrano-Vela, Juan Ignacio; Rivero-de-Aguilar, Juan & Arnaiz-Villena, Antonio (2006): Rhodopechys obsoleta (desert finch): a pale ancestor of greenfinches (Carduelis spp.) according to molecular phylogeny. Journal of Ornithology 147(3): 448–456. DOI:10.1007/s10336-005-0036-2 (HTML abstract). Erratum, Journal of Ornithology 147(3): 511–512 DOI:10.1007/s10336-006-0072-6


  1. ^ From Latin carduus, "thistle". Thistle seeds are a favorite food of many species.

External links

| Up
| Carduelis
| Carpodacus
| Coccothraustes
| Eophona
| Euphoniinae
| Fringilla
| Grosbeak
| Leucosticte
| Loxia
| Pinicola
| Pyrrhula
| Rhodopechys
| Seedeater
| Serinus

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