Carduelis cannabina


A common, small finch of heathland, scrub and farmland, the Linnet feeds on seeds and is present all year-round. 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 were once popular cage birds due to their melodious song.

How to identify

Linnet males have brown backs, grey heads and pinky foreheads and chests. Females are paler, streaky and lack the pink patches.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Linnet numbers have decreased significantly over recent decades - a decline mirrored by many of our farmland and garden birds. Changes in agricultural practices, such as the removal of hedgerows and increased use of pesticides, have had detrimental effects, but The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too, by providing food and water for garden birds. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food or feeders, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Carduelis cannabina
Finches and Buntings
Length: 14cm Wingspan: 24cm Weight: 19g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation 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.