European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 27,800,000-42,700,000 pairs, which equates to 55,700,000-85,500,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.55% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 101,000,000-155,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 have undergone a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).

Distribution and population

Carduelis carduelis is widely distributed across Europe and central Asia, from the British Isles, western Europe and the northern tip of Africa through eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and into the Urals, Israel, Azerbaijan and Iran.


This species inhabits open or sparse deciduous woodland and mixed deciduous and conifer woods, forest edges, thickets, heaths, hedgerows, streams, riverine and marshy areas with bushes and trees, roadside verges, steppe grasslands with scattered trees to edges of semi-desert areas, scrub, orchards, edges of cultivation and parks and gardens. Breeding occurs from April to early August. The nest is a compact small cup of grasses, moss, plant fibres and down, cobwebs, animal hair and feathers, a few aromatic flowers on outside, placed up to 10 m from the ground, concealed beneath foliage. Clutches are four to six eggs. It feeds mostly on seeds (ripe and unripe), buds, flowers and the fruits of plants but also takes arthropods. The species is resident, migratory, partially migratory and nomadic (Clement 2016).


The species is caught over most of its range and is popular as a cage bird (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.  The decline of commercial bird catching may have been responsible for population increases in Britain, Ireland and Belgium since 1950 (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Derhé, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Species factsheet: Carduelis carduelis. Downloaded from on 20/08/2018. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2018) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/08/2018.