How to care for a goldfinch

The goldfinch is a bird belonging to the family of the finches, very common in Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Its song, very happy and something similar to the one of the parrots, has made that from the antiquity it was raised in captivity, reason why nowadays it is very common to find it in contests of song of birds.

If you want to have a bird of this type you must learn how to care for a goldfinch to keep it healthy. That's why in this article of COMO we share some data that will be of your interest so that you can achieve it.

Characteristics of the goldfinch

The European goldfinch or Carduelis carduelis reaches between 12 and 13.5 cm, can have an estimated weight between 14 and 19 grams and a maximum longevity between 8 and 10 years. One of his adult identity signs is in his face, which has a red pigmentation that resembles a mask, while his wings are black with yellow stripes. The back part of its body has brown tonalities, the previous part is whitish and its tail is of black color. The characteristics between males and females are almost imperceptible, except for the presence of a darker shade on the male's face or on his nasal feathers. Although there are other varieties of this species such as the yellow goldfinch or saffron we can see in the image.

The goldfinch can live in forests and agricultural areas as well as in cities. In the wild it feeds mainly on seeds of thistles, as well as sunflower or wheat and insects in breeding season. Couples usually breed twice a year and nesting lasts about 12 days.


To learn how to take care of a goldfinch properly you have to know that although its food is granivorous, so it feeds especially on seeds, but also consume wild plants, such as shepherd's purse, purslane, sorghum, chicory, oats, goldenrod, dandelion, poppy, locks, etc. In the same way they can eat vegetables and fruits, such as lettuce, endives, tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, orange, apple and pear. The important thing is that their diet is varied so that they can obtain all the nutrients they need.

On the other hand, it is vital to check the food very well before giving it to the bird. The seeds, especially, can contain pathogenic fungi that if consumed by the bird can cause serious diseases. It is also important to incorporate birdseed into your daily diet, either mixed with other seeds or in an independent feeder. The consumption of canary seed prevents the bird from developing obesity, a condition that can generate infertility among other serious health problems.

Accommodation conditions

An important part of the care of a goldfinch have to do with its place of accommodation. Therefore, to be able to choose a bird cage suitable for this species you should know that it must be wide enough and with several poles to allow the bird to fly and jump; if the size is very restricted the animal runs the risk of hitting itself when trying to fly. Likewise, it must be kept away from other pets and out of the reach of rodents and wild birds. The temperature must be cool, but without being cold, to stimulate your energy expenditure and the place must have permanent ventilation.

Hygiene practices

The water must be renewed daily and in summer up to twice a day. Both the cage and the feeders, the tray, the grill, the cage sticks and the water dispenser must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected once a week to avoid the proliferation of bacteria, parasites and pathogens. If insecticides or disinfectants are used they must be of ornithological use, that is, suitable for birds, and they must be changed periodically to prevent the parasites from developing resistance to it. The food that comes into contact with the grill should be discarded, as it has probably been contaminated with the excrement.

The goldfinches enjoy playing with water, so they can have an extra container to splash and bathe, especially in hot weather, but the water must be changed daily.

Also, if in a cage there is more than one goldfinch and one of them gets sick, it must be separated from the group to avoid it infecting the other birds.

Find out more about how to clean the bird cage correctly in this other article from.

Protection of the goldfinch

The goldfinches are protected birds, that means that their capture is regulated and can only be done by silvestristas (people specialized in the capture of specimens for hybridization or singing or beauty contests), who must be licensed and authorized by the pertinent institutions according to each region.

During the capture process, it is only allowed to obtain male specimens using a capture net of maximum length of nine meters. Neither females nor nests should be hunted. Once the specimen is in the power of the silvestrista, it is marked with closed rings for its control. Capture is not allowed for commercial purposes, only for breeding purposes in captivity.

The hunting and improper marketing of the goldfinch not only affects the growth of its population, but also alters the balance of the ecosystem of which it is a part. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid any practice that puts this bird in danger and go to the authorities in case of witnessing irregularities related to its capture.

If you have liked to know how to care for a goldfinch, you may also be interested in knowing how to feed a blackbird.

  • The requirements to care for a goldfinch are not far from what any bird in captivity requires.
  • It is important to remember that the main characteristic of this bird is its peculiar song. If the goldfinch decreases the frequency of its singing or simply stops doing so, it may be a symptom of some health condition.
  • In this case, you should consult a veterinarian, especially if this is accompanied by lack of appetite or abundant loss of plumage out of your molt period.