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Siskin or Greenfinch: How To Tell The Difference?

Both the Eurasian Siskin and Greenfinch are extremely similar at first glance, so it's no surprise that it's a common question that we find people asking. In this short article, we'll highlight the main differences between the two different bird species to help you identify them easier.

The main differences between the two are that Siskins have a more streaked plumage with a distinct wing bar that goes across the wing, tails are more of sharper fork shape, and black bib - males also have a black cap. Female Siskins lack the black crown, so more often than not, they are more likely to be confused with greenfinches. Greenfinches also have a yellow stripe down the edges of the wings.

There are a few more differences, which we will go into a little more detail below. However, the above is generally the best and most obvious way to distinguish the two apart.


Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)

Siskin 1

Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

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Other differences between the two species

Both are members of the finch family and have similar looking beaks - perfect for eating seeds. However, the Siskin has a slightly more delicate looking bill when compared to the more 'heavy' looking bill of the Greenfinch. When it comes down to size, the Greenfinch is slightly the larger of the two as well.

The bill of a Siskin appears more of a sharper shape, with the Greenfinch having more of a conical shaped bill.

Siskin Adult Song

Shaun Micklewright, XC625024. Accessible at

Greenfinch Call

Calum Mckellar, XC614194. Accessible at

A female Siskin - lacking the black cap

A female Siskin - lacking the black cap

Siskin and Greenfinch Similarities

Both birds tend to share similar types of habitat - this is why they are often confused with one another. They are also relatively common species to see. They also tend to congregate in flocks from time to time.

As mentioned before, the colour of their plumages is extremely similar. Both birds have dark eyes and light pinkish beaks.

Greenfinch from behind

Greenfinch from behind

Compare Siskin and Greenfinch



Spinus spinus

Other names: Eurasian Siskin, European Siskin, Common Siskin


11cm to 12cm


20cm to 23cm


11g to 18g

Learn about the Siskin


Chloris chloris

Other names: European Greenfinch


15cm to 16cm




17g to 34g

Learn about the Greenfinch

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