Friday, October 17, 2014

Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus) Huang que

(11.5 cm.) Very small; short bill; banded yellow and black wings; adult male has black cap and chin, and yellow on head, rump and base of tail. Female: Duller; more streaked than male; lacking a black cap and chin.

The Eurasian Siskin is a very small and very active member of the finch family, “Fringillidae”. It also falls into the category of “winter finch”, as it is part of a group of finches that breed in the extreme north and generally only visit southern temperate regions during the winter months. All winter finches, including crossbills, siskins and others also follow several year cycles of migration in which they are absent in southern regions for several years and then numerous for one year. These irregular migration patterns are directly related to climatic changes and variable food supplies.

The range of the Eurasian Siskin is separated in two sections through Eurasian One part is in North Europe with the other in North Asia. It is absent from the portion of Russia that separates these two sections. Its summer breeding range includes the extreme northeast of Heilongjiang Province up into Russia. In the winters that it chooses to seek southern climes, it can be found throughout much of east China as far south as Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Like other winter finches, the Eurasian Siskin is a largely a seed eater which can survive without difficulty at northern latitudes where coniferous forests offer seeds all year long.

This species is always seen feeding high in the trees as it rarely ventures close to the ground. It is quite acrobatic in its search for food in the trees, often hanging upside down in the manner of a tit.

During winters that it ventures south to temperate regions, it will feed from seeds of both coniferous and deciduous trees. In summer, this bird will feed its chicks insects, as the proteins found in animal matter will allow for faster development of their young.

During the winter males and female form pairs that will mate in the coming spring. The birds construct a nest high in the upper branches of coniferous tree, usually a pine. The female lays 2-6 eggs and incubates them herself. The chicks are “nidiculous’, meaning that they remain close to their nests long after hatching remaining dependant on their parents for food.


Photo by SÅ‚awek Staszczuk

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