European Linnet

The European linnet (Carduelis cannabina) is a long-tailed songbird, slightly smaller than a sparrow, which belongs to the finch family, Fringillidae. It is a slim bird with a brown body, an off-white throat, and a gray bill.

Since this attractive finch exists as a dimorphic species, the males have a brown back, red breasts, and a red head patch while the females have a white belly.

European Linnet

European Linnet

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae
Genus Carduelis
Scientific Name Carduelis cannabina


Quick Information

Distribution North Africa, Scotland, Greece, Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, Western Turkey, Ukraine, Cyprus, Western Asia
Habitat Salt marshes, orchards, heaths, parks, gardens, weedy fields, hedgerows, gorse thickets
Song Twitters and fast trills; males produce a medley of wheezy warbling notes
Color Brown with a gray bill
Size About 13-14 cm
Wingspan 21 cm to 25 cm
Weight 15 g to 26 g
Diet Berries, buds, seeds
Lifespan 2 years
Egg hatching time 11 to 13 days
Clutch size 4 to 7 eggs
Fledging  11 to 17 days
IUCN Conservation Status Least Concern


  • C.c. cannabina
  • C.c. bella
  • C.c. autochthona
  • C.c. harterti
  • C.c. guentheri
  • C.c. meadewaldoi
  • C.c. mediterranea


The European Linnet comes in the following color mutations:

  • Orange
  • Red
  • Yellow

Pet care

This little finch is the most sought-after cage bird for its pleasant melodious song. However, domesticating the bird would be difficult if proper care is not taken.

Cage setup

These colorful linnets should be kept in large, well-ventilated cages, or aviaries to allow them fly freely. As they prefer living in a large flock, especially during their breeding season, they can be kept with other birds. A concrete or natural branch perch appropriate to the size of the bird must be installed inside the cage on which it can rest all day long.

European Linnet Cage Setup

European Linnet Cage Setup


A nesting cup or round nest box, lined with grass, twigs, and wool, kept in the cage gives this little finch a place to hide or lay eggs. Paper towels can be used for the base of the nest to get a better grip.

European Linnet Eggs in Nest

European Linnet Eggs in Nest


As linnets cannot tolerate extreme temperatures, they normally stay comfortable at a minimum of 80°F. To avoid direct sunlight, you can cover the cage with a net curtain, making sure to remove it at night to allow the birds to breathe.


These cheerful and friendly songbirds can easily adjust to a new environment, owing to their hardy nature. They do not show any aggressive behavior when kept as an individual breeding pair or with other finches.

European Linnet Images

European Linnet Images

European Linnet Photos

European Linnet Photos


European linnets are ardent seed-eaters, but they also peck and feed on fruits, grains, berries, and vegetables. They also like to eat buds of peach, plum, pear, apricot, and almond. A flat container of chemical-free water should be kept at the bottom of the cage.


Place a shallow dish of clean bathing water inside the enclosure to allow your pet bird to stay clean and active.

European Linnet Bird

European Linnet Bird

European Linnet Pictures

European Linnet Pictures

Health problems

Regular health checkup is necessary as these small finches are susceptible to infections. Conjunctivitis-affected linnets have swollen and red eyes that could even lead to blindness without proper treatment. If you see your pet bird suffering from inactiveness, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and watery stools then take it to a well-known vet immediately.


These little darlings cost around $75-$100.

Interesting facts

  • Male linnets undergo molting twice a year.
  • Female linnets are slightly smaller than their male counterparts.
  • These birds breed twice a year.
  • This beautiful finch was a popular pet even in the late 19th century.



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