European Goldfinch

To: Philip Veerman <>, 'Ann Eldridge' <>
Subject: European Goldfinch
From: John Harris <>
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2019 03:01:40 +0000

Thanks Philip for your expansive contribution, accurate as always. I was not trying to be technical but to help someone coming across an EG for the first time to understand that it was not uncommon here and likely to be found in the same habitat as the Australian finches.




From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Tuesday, 2 April 2019 at 1:53 pm
To: John Harris <>, 'Ann Eldridge' <>
Cc: chatline <>
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch


Yes indeed “They are a finch” however that is a more complex statement than it seems. It would be a complex job to count how many bird species are “finches”. Indeed there are many families of birds that include members called finches. And several of those families include species or groups that are not called finches (mannikin, nun, siskin, canary, twite, bunting, quelea, Darwin’s finches, yellowhammer, firetail, waxbill, whydah, weaver, sparrow, etc, even sparrow is spread across some families). I don’t know the details but very likely several of these groups are not closely related. The Goldfinch is part of the group prominent in Europe that presumably were first given the name finch. Thus could be said to be a true finch and the others aren’t but that point has rarely if ever been tested. Like our magpie is not a magpie. Finches are all small passerines with the same basic sort of conical beak shape, that mainly eat grass seeds. They generally (or all?) have forked or notched tails. Our finches typically have fanned or rounded tails. That is about it. For example our finches all build domed nests and young beg for food in a quite different manner to other birds. The “true finches” build open cup nests. EG is on pages 336 & 337 of Morcombe’s book (with the “other finches”).




From: John Harris [
Sent: Tuesday, 2 April, 2019 9:28 AM
To: Ann Eldridge
Cc: Canberra Birds
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch


The European Goldfinch is a very common Canberra bird. I report observing them regularly. They are a finch and so they prefer the same grassy habitat as native finches. I observe them frequently in the reed beds and native grasses along the Ginninderra creek floodplain. I have seen them in the reeds etc of every artificial pond in Gungahlin. If you see a small bird at the top of a seed stalk , it is more likely to be a EG around here than something more elusive like a GH Cisticola.




From: shorty <>
Date: Monday, 1 April 2019 at 7:03 pm
To: Ann Eldridge <>
Cc: chatline <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] European Goldfinch


In the P&K guide they are listed in the index as - Goldfinch, European.




On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 6:52 PM Ann Eldridge <> wrote:

Thank you so much I have found him in my Aust Bird Guide but not in Morcombe or Simpson & Day.

Thanks again



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