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Linnet Male by Rob Miller

Linnet

Carduelis cannabina

Key Facts

  • Length: 14cm
  • Wingspan: 24cm
  • Weight: 19g
  • Average Lifespan: 2 years

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

Widespread.

How People Can 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.

Did you know?

Linnets are named after their favourite food: seeds. Linseed is the seed of flax, giving the bird its common name, while the Latin name ‘cannabina’ refers to Hemp.

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