Linaria Cannabina - LInnet

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Aves - Order: Passeriformes - Family: Fringillidae


Above: a male Linnet


Also referred to as Common Linnets, these slim, long-tailed finches, which are resident in Britain, are typically 14cm in length and have a wingspan of about 24cm.

Male linnets have brown backs, grey heads, and striking pink foreheads and breasts. The females are paler and more streaky, and they do not have pink patches on their foreheads and breasts. The male Linnet is renowned for its sweet melodious song.

Female Linnet

Above: a female Linnet


This lovely member of the finch family is found throughout Britain except for the far north of scotland..


An uncommon and hard to spot songbird of scrub and farmland, the linnet feeds on grain in winter stubble fields (a diminishing resource due to the sowing of winter wheat and other early crops) as well as on wildflower seeds in saltmarshes and on scrubby wasteland and beside hedgerows.


Linnets often nest in hedgerows or in low dense bushes such as Gorse or heather. The cup-shaped nest is made of grass, moss and twigs, lined with wool and hair. A brood is usually 3 to 7 pale blue eggs patterned with scattered purple and brown spots. The female incubates the eggs, and both adults feed the chicks.

Conservation Status

The UK's Linnet population has been in steep decline over the past fifty years, and this species is now classified as 'Red' under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). The Linnet is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).

Reference Sources

Clive Viney & Ray Tipper (2nd Edn., 2016) Algarve Wildlife, the natural year, First Nature

BTO News Release Are predators to blame for songbird declines? 2010-03-10


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by John Foss.

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