European Goldfinch / Carduelis carduelis / حسون ذهبي

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The Goldfinch belongs to the Fringillidae family in the Passerine order. It is 12-13.5 cm in size and 12-19 g in weight. It is one of the most beautiful birds in the area with a black and yellow pattern that decorates its wings and a shiny red face on a black and white head. The tail is black and the rump is white. The adult male and female are almost identical in appearance but the juveniles have grey heads and lacking the red color. The origin of its Arabic name – "the groom" is from its beautiful appearance but unfortunately the beauty of the Goldfinch is also its downfall. The Goldfinch became a most wanted captive song bird and it is being hunted all over the area. Not only that it's being hunted and caged, the poachers also cross breed the Goldfinch with the Canary which originated in the Canary Islands to make a hybrid that is known to sing very beautifully. Another problem that the Goldfinch suffers from is the loss of habitat caused by over grazing. The Goldfinch feeds on the seeds of thistles and other thorny plants, and manages with a great amount of skill to extract the seed without getting pricked by the thorns.  Its problem is that there aren’t much wildlife reserves that consist of dry thistle fields which are usually considered as "dead areas" without much importance. Only in recent years the importance of these habitats for many species such as the Goldfinch is being understood. During the breeding season the female Goldfinch builds a basket-shaped nest made out of small twigs and attached by spider webs. The nest is also softened by gentle stuffing like cotton. The nest is built on trees and bushes and it's usually low down. The Female sits on the eggs for 2 weeks and during that time the male constantly feeds her. After the chicks are hatched they are fed by insects and later on they are gradually fed by seeds. After the breeding season is over the Goldfinches group up to small flocks and wander around, while constantly calling and singing their beautiful calls. In Christianity the Goldfinch became related to the suffering of Jesus Christ and his crown of thorns due to its relation with Thistles and other thorny plants. Therefore it can be found in many drawing of Jesus in his childhood. The Goldfinch is common throughout Europe except for Scandinavia and northern Russia, and continues east to central Asia and northern Africa. It has also been introduces to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay. In that distribution 12 different subspecies were classified of which the subspecies C. c. niediecki is the common one in Palestine. Goldfinches can be found in all Mediterranean habitats of Palestine. In winter their numbers grow due to migratory Goldfinches that join from Europe. 
Conservation status – least concern

Migratory behaviour: Resident breeder , Note: Declining due to hunting.

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves.