Bird Families

Bird siskin


Appearance and behavior... One of the smallest members of the family. Body length 11–14 cm, wingspan 19–23 cm, weight 10–18 g. The tail is short, with a rather deep notch. The beak is relatively long, thin and pointed. On the dark wing, two yellow stripes are clearly visible, formed by spots on the tops of the wing coverts. On the sides of the tail there are yellow fields, similar to those of greenfinch. When feeding, like a tap dance, it is often hung upside down on alder cones and birch twigs.

Description... The general color of the male is bright, yellow-green. The sides of the head, chest, loin and upper tail are yellow. The sides of the underside of the body, belly and undertail are whitish with dark streaks. The neck and back are yellowish-green, with or sometimes without narrow longitudinal striae. There is a clearly visible black cap on the head. There is a small black spot under the beak. Flight feathers in the apical part are black-brown with a narrow greenish border on the outer webs, yellow at the base. This topography of color distribution forms a variegated pattern on the wing, consisting of yellow spots on a dark background. The upper tail coverts are greenish-olive, the central tail feathers are blackish-brown, the rest of the tail feathers have the main half of the fans yellow, the apex blackish-brown. The female is dull, greenish-brown in color, without a dark cap and spots under the beak, with numerous longitudinal dark streaks. The underside is off-white with a yellowish tinge and with narrow dark rod-like strokes. "Mirror" on the wing and bases of tail feathers are pale yellow. Horn-colored legs and beak. The eyes are dark brown.

Young birds in juvenile plumage are more variegated than females, with even more numerous black strokes on the head and body. On the wing coverts, buffy edges are noticeable, a "mirror" on the wing stands out well. It differs from greenfinch in small size, the presence of black spots and streaks. It differs from a European finch of comparable size in its slender long beak and the presence of pronounced yellow spots on the wings and tail.

Vote... Song - fast high-pitched chirping and gurgling trills with the addition of signals “zhi», «tili-tili», «civi-civi", They are also used as calls. They sing in trees and in current flight.

Distribution, status... The nesting area covers coniferous forests from the Pyrenees and Scandinavia to the east to the coasts of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the Sea of ​​Japan, Kamchatka, the Kuril and Japanese islands. In the area of ​​the Yenisei valley and Cisbaikalia, there is a gap in the nesting area, within which the species occurs very irregularly, mainly during roaming. Breeds in isolation in the Caucasus and Crimea. In the forest zone of European Russia, it is a nesting and nomadic species, the number varies greatly from year to year. In the steppe zone, it occurs during roaming. An isolated breeding population exists in the Caucasus.

Lifestyle... During the nesting period, birds keep in pairs, the rest of the time - in flocks. In the breeding season, it is a real forest bird, inhabits tall spruce or forests mixed with spruce, often in the vicinity of river floodplains and stream valleys. The nest, which is a thick-walled bowl made of moss, roots, blades of grass and plant fibers, is most often located in the crowns of coniferous trees. Occasionally it can be built 2–3 m from the ground, for example, in a thick spruce paw. The tray is lined with down, wool and feathers. In a clutch there are 3–6 eggs of white, slightly bluish or greenish color, with a few rare brown or rusty specks and curls of various densities and sizes. Chicks are covered with rare bluish-gray down. Predominantly herbivorous and even chicks are fed mostly with seeds of conifers, alder and various grasses, as well as insects.

For adult birds, seeds are practically the only food. Collect them in the snow or on the ground, or pull them out of the expanding cones, from the cones of alder. It is alder that is one of the most important forage plants for almost the entire year. They are very prone to movement even at the height of the nesting season, so that flocks of nomadic siskins can be seen in most of our region almost all year round. Most noticeable and abundant in autumn and winter. The flocks are quite dense, the birds usually sit densely on the tree and take off in unison. Often they form mixed flocks with tap dancers and other finches. They do not have strong territorial ties, a typical nomadic species.

Re: Yellow-bellied siskin

Message evgen »06 Jan 2016, 20:31

Re: Yellow-bellied siskin

Message Gularis »06 Jan 2016, 21:57

Re: Yellow-bellied siskin

Message evgen »07 Jan 2016, 11:36


Siskins have always been one of the most beloved songbirds in Russia because of the ingenuity and gullibility inherent in this bird. Of all the songbirds, the siskins are considered the most tame. The caught siskin is tamed pretty quickly and even becomes attached to the owners. He will not settle for a long time in a new dwelling and will immediately begin to husk the grains offered to him, and on the third day he will begin to hum his songs and calmly endure the presence of a person nearby. A tamed siskin is always unusually gentle and tame. He greets the owners who have returned home with gentle chirping and the most sincere joy, can safely fly around the room outside the cage and often flirt with people: he sits on his owner's head or shoulder, fiddles with his earlobe with his beak, drinks water from his mouth and does many other tricks. This is a very trusting and friendly bird, quick-witted and quite easy to train.

The songs of the siskin are able to cheer you up with their fervor and cheerful, annoying notes. Domestic siskins are ready to sing for 10 months a year! And this bird got its nickname "siskin" for its characteristic "siskin" song or squeak. The song of the siskin is quite varied. It consists of both his own short "words and strokes", and imitation of the singing of other birds, mainly tits: the great tit - "pin-pin-trrra." And the little tit - "qi-pi, qi-pi." , as well as from the urges of other birds interspersed with their own words. For the accommodating and trusting nature of this bird, for his sonorous song, he was often kept in houses. After all, the siskin quietly gets along with other species of birds in the same cage, becomes attached to humans and even reproduces well at home.

What does a siskin look like, and what else is remarkable about it?

The size of a siskin is no larger than a sparrow. Its body is only 12 cm long and weighs no more than 15 grams, from 12 to 14 grams. The color of the siskin differs from the gray-brown passerine color and has a greenish-yellow, olive color, with obscure dark spots on the back, and with yellow spots on the chest and abdomen. The base of the tail feathers and most of the flight feathers are also yellow-olive.

Winter siskin

This color does not remain constant throughout the year, but changes in the spring. After the spring moulting, the siskin seems to change clothes, and his spring outfit becomes much brighter and more elegant than the modest winter one. The plumage becomes a bright yellow-green, and the feathers of the long tail turn bright yellow.

Spring siskin

This bright spring feathering and a hat of black feathers on the head make it very easy to distinguish a male from a female, whose outfit is much more modestly decorated, but there is no hat at all.

Siskin is a very clean bird. He takes pride in his smart suit and does it often. That is, the siskin is very fond of swimming, but when it gets wet, it will have to rest and wait for its elegant feathers to dry, since it cannot fly wet, like any other bird. Birds do not fly wet. If the siskin is not in flight, then it moves along the ground by jumping, but it does this rarely, most often hiding in the crowns of trees or fluttering high in the sky, especially in winter.

In the wild, with a squeak, these birds echo during the mating season or in the fall in flocks. I must say that siskins gather in flocks only in autumn, and in summer they live in pairs. But siskins gather in flocks not for long-distance flights to warm regions, since these birds are not migratory, but nomadic or migratory. With the onset of cold weather, they do not fly to Africa, but gather in more or less significant flocks and migrate over short distances to more southern regions, choosing places for rest and further retreat from the cold along river valleys with thickets of deciduous trees, because the seeds of deciduous trees the main and favorite food, of which the most favorite are birch and alder seeds. In summer, siskins feed not only on plant, but also on animal food - aphids and other small insects, but in the cold season the insects disappear, only the seeds of the trees remain.

Autumn migrations of siskins begin at the end of September. And they fly not far - to the south of Europe, to the North Caucasus, to the Transcaucasia, to the southern regions of Kazakhstan. Siskins fly at very high altitudes, so they are easier to hear than to see. And their flight itself is very beautiful and interesting, they fly fast and wave-like.

Siskins feeding on birch seeds

But some of the siskins do not fly away for the winter not only from the middle, but even from the northern part of Russia, if they meet non-freezing streams or rivers. And then, in the winter cold in a snowy forest, you don't have to choose. Then the siskins are content with pine and spruce seeds. These little birds are very unpretentious in food.

If the siskin remains in the north and does not migrate anywhere, then it lives at this time of the year only high in the trees. They prefer not to even go down to the ground. On the tops of devrevye siskins, their nests are becoming obsolete. Having returned from wintering, they immediately start building the nest. And the builders of the siskins are very skillful, and it is almost impossible to notice a skillfully disguised dwelling from the ground, because the siskins are masked with soft lichen and moss, which often cover the trunks and branches of northern trees during frosts. In addition, siskins arrange their nests on the tops of the tallest and thickest spruces or pines, no lower than 10 meters from the ground.

The nest itself is built of thin twigs and roots in the form of a rather deep hemisphere, the base of which is usually located at the very trunk, covered with lichen. Birds carefully intertwine thin twigs, roots, blades of grass, which are usually obtained and brought by the male siskin, and the female is engaged in weaving. When the nest frame is ready, the siskins cover the resulting bed with soft fluff, feathers and wool, and then the outer side of the nest is masked with lichen and moss.

After the house is built, the mating season begins. This happens in early spring, when the males begin to sing loudly, and the females answer them quietly. Taking care of the female, the siskin begins to fly around her, spreads its wings and tail, however, just like all other birds.

Chizhi were so loved and widespread among us, even in big cities, that a comic song was even composed about them:

Chizhik-fawn, where have you been?
I drank vodka on the Fontanka.
Drank a glass, drank two -
Spun in my head.
Drank a glass, drank two
Spun in my head.

This song, as the simplest in its melody, was used at one time when teaching children music. Naturally, the lyrics of the song softened and used more "childish" versions of the text Chizhik-Pyzhik, where have you been? ... On the Fontanka, the feet were washed. I washed my foot, washed two - It brightened in my head.

Who wrote this song about siskins is not known for certain. Nobody knows either the songwriter or the time of its appearance, and the melody (mi-do-mi-do-fa-mi-re-sol-sol-sol-la-si-do-do-do) is easy to remember and play with one finger.

Why siskin, why fawn, and why was he on the Fontanka?

Petersburg legend says that the song arose because of the official uniform of the students of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, which was located at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt from the "married" side and the Fontanka, in house number 6. Students of this school had a bright uniform - green uniforms with yellow cuffs and yellow buttonholes.

Winter overcoats for the school of jurisprudence were sewn with the same siskin colors, and a winter hat was relied on from a fawn. So it turned out that for such a bright color of uniforms, reminiscent of the plumage of a siskin, as well as for the traditional fawn hats, the students of the school were nicknamed "siskins-fawn", and it was about them that this song was composed.

The melody of the song was and remains one of the most widespread and recognizable in Russia. It is so recognizable that it has been quoted by our venerable composers in academic music. For example, the aria of Tsar Dodon in the opera "The Golden Cockerel" by Rimsky-Korsakov. The words of Dodon's serenade to the Shamakhan queen are quite consistent with the music. So Rimsky-Korsakov tried, in his own words, "to shame Dodon completely" (Collected works, Vol. 7., M, 1970, p. 412) .:
"I will love you forever,
I will try not to forget.
And how will I begin to forget
You will remind me again. "

People's love for this song is so inherent in Petersburgers that in 1994 a monument was erected to Chizhik-Pyzhik not just anywhere, but on the Fontanka on one of the bulls of the bridge over the Fontanka not far from the Summer Garden, near the palace of Paul the First. A cute tiny bird on a pedestal immediately became a kind of fetish and overgrown with signs: if you make a wish and toss a coin so that it remains on the pedestal of the monument, your wish will certainly come true.

Chizhik-fawn is known and loved not only in Petersburg, he is like air, everywhere with us, everyone knows him. Therefore, in the film directed by L. Gaidai "Ivan Vasilyevich changes his profession" in the scene with the bells the manager Ivan Vasilyevich Bunsha, entangled in the ropes, plays the melody "Chizhik-Pyzhik".

Behavioral features of tap dancers in nature

  • As noted above, tap dancers - flock birds, overly active and impulsive. Together they rush in search of food, not paying too much attention to the world around and its dangers. Sometimes the amount individuals in a flock can number in the thousands.
  • They very quickly get used to people and try to get the maximum benefit from them in the form of all kinds of "sweets".
  • Having found a tree or bush with fruits suitable for eating (berries, seeds, acorns or cones), tap dancers literally stick around its branches, forming a swarming, bright, polyphonic lump. They can even absorb food while hanging upside down! The more "tasty things" on the tree, the more birds will hang on it.

Love fruits

  • Tap dance omnivorous birds and have an excellent appetite, which allows them to easily find food in the wild. From the plant segment, they prefer all types of cereals, young birch and alder catkins, fruits and seeds of trees and shrubs, they like to eat cones of conifers and even heather.
  • The source of animal protein for the tap dancers are small representatives of insects; they prefer to feed young animals with aphids.
  • Taking care of the fate of their offspring, tap dance learned qualitatively hide their nests in low, but dense thickets of bushes and small trees. Most of all they love settle in birch or alder groves.

How red caps with wings behave in nature

Despite their small size, tap dancers are not used to being careful. They quickly adapt to living near people. It is extremely interesting to watch how these little birds feed. They literally stick around the branches of a tree, and, hanging in different positions, peck at berries, cones, and earrings.

But one has only to move the branch, they immediately take off together ... but do not fly away to another feeding place, but only make a circle and return to the same place again.

Tap dancers live in nests, and they arrange them in thickets of low trees, in the strip of tundra, taiga. They live in small flocks, large colonies are not for them.

Features of character and lifestyle

Photo: Male tap dance

As already mentioned, the tap dancers are clustered in flocks, which can be immediately noticed due to the continuous hubbub of birds and chirping. These birds are very mobile and active, but excessive caution is not their strong point. Little birds can fly close to human habitation. Noticing the approach of the two-legged, the flock flies up, but does not fly far away, but almost immediately returns back to the branches, where there are many attractive goodies (cones, seeds, earrings).

Sometimes during a tap dance it seems that the branches are covered with fluffy little pompons, located chaotically and in completely different positions. The tap dancers arrange their nesting places in dense growth of not very tall trees, they carefully mask them from various ill-wishers.

Singing of tap dance can be heard during the bird wedding season, but birds do not sing very often. The melody includes a number of similar sounds: "che-che-che", "chiv-chiv-chiv", "chen-chen", etc. All these exclamations are cyclical, i.e. are constantly repeated, they are diluted with sharp trills.

Interesting fact: The singing talent of tap dancers can be improved by crossing them with canaries, such feathered offspring have a much more melodic and pleasant voice.

If we talk about the nature of the tap dancers, then those who start them at home claim that birds are very unpretentious. They give birth to tap dancers as pets, infrequently, apparently, not everyone likes their song, which resembles the beating of a shot. If you watch the tap dancers in winter, you can see their fighting disposition, cocky character and courage.

Having flown up to the feeder, a flock of tap dancers quickly takes control of it, chasing away other feathered competitors, which are larger in size (bullfinches and titmouses). Little birds in red caps always act actively, collectively, together, a little impudently and very harmoniously. Apparently, such zealous pressure and bold tactics are necessary if you have such a small size.

What does a tap dance bird eat?

Tap dancers are practically omnivorous: they are impressed by both plant foods and insects.

The menu of this representative of the order of passerines consists of both plant "products" and animal food. From animals, the tap dance can consume various insects as food, although, most often, it focuses on aphids. Among the plants he chooses shrubs and trees with seeds. He loves to peck at birch catkins, sometimes eats the seeds of spruce cones, in addition, it feeds on seeds of lingonberry, cereals, sedges.


During the mating season, couples and small flocks of tap dancers fly in the air, sit on the tops of trees and bushes, all the time making inviting cries. During current flight, a single male whirls in the air in wavy lines, issuing its chirping song. Other males often join him. Nests are built not high above the ground, on various trees (birch, alder). Nests in bushes in the middle of the forest are very common. The nest looks like a soft thick-walled bowl. Its bulk consists of thin twigs, grass, moss, lichens, plant fluff, deciduous needles. The tray is dominated by softer materials, but it is mainly lined with feathers, wool, plant fluff.

In clutch there are 3-7 (usually 4-5) white-blue eggs with dark spots. The female incubates for 12-14 days. The male brings her food to the nest. Both parents feed the chicks. Their food is based on insects, mostly small ones, as well as seeds of sedges, cotton grass, etc. The juveniles leave the nest in 10-14 days. After the emergence and supplementary feeding of the chicks, some of the pairs begin the second nesting.

Tap dance: a bird at home

  • Through activity tap dance birds, their bright colors and friendliness towards people, sometimes they become pets for fans of songbirds - canaries, siskins and goldfinches.
  • However, not everyone amateur birdwatcher will withstand a rhythmic chirping - that's how a tap-dancing bird sings.
  • If you nevertheless decide to have this rather exotic birdie at home, then you should take care of a spacious aviary or cage so that it can make at least small flights in it.

Tap dance

  • Since these birds are very active in nature, without the lack of proper mobility, they begin to suffer from obesity, which often leads to premature death.
  • Tap dance poultry feed It is also worth choosing dietary ones - for example, balanced canary feed mixtures without a lot of hemp seeds.

Be careful, it happens that tap dancers cannot stand captivity and die literally during the first days in captivity. It is better to keep them at least in a pair, or better - in a small flock in a spacious aviary, although this may lead to the fact that the males will not sing.

  • Tap dance very quickly get used to people, eat from their hands and often do not want to part with the owner, even if he tries to release them.
  • Catch a tap dance not too difficult - for example, with the help of a net, a trap, since they trust people and without looking back fall to the ground to have a snack.
  • It is a little more difficult to catch and adapt in captivity tundra tap dancers, which are slightly larger and "fluffier" than their usual relatives.

What is known about the enemies of tap dance in nature

At present, there is not enough information about who hunts for the tap-dancing bird, but it can be assumed that such a small bird often becomes a "dinner" for ground and celestial predators.

Natural enemies of tap dance

Photo: What a tap-dancing bird looks like

Surprisingly, zoologists still have not established who exactly is the enemy of the tiny tap dance in the wild. On this score, there are only assumptions. Ornithologists believe that the tiny bird has enough enemies.

The bird is saved by its briskness, swiftness and talent of disguising its nests. It is very difficult to discern the nest of the tap dance; it is hidden in the densest shrub growth or in the lower tier of trees. The birds do not build their shelters very high, apparently, they are afraid of large feathered predators.

According to various assumptions, scientists rank among the enemies of tap dance:

Mussels climb trees perfectly, so they can ruin the nesting place of tap dance, animals tend to feast on not only defenseless chicks, but also bird eggs. Tap dancers living in urban areas or near other human settlements can suffer from common cats that love to hunt birds. Birds are especially vulnerable in winter, when they fly closer to people in order to feed themselves, because in winter babies are very tight.

Of course, the enemies of these birds can also be considered a person who, conducting his tireless economic activity, interferes with natural biotopes, occupies various territories for his own needs, displaces birds from their habitable places, cuts down forests and negatively affects the ecological situation in general. which negatively affects bird life.


Tap dancers settle in the tundra and forests of Europe, Asia and North America. Depending on their habitat, they can be nesting, resident or migratory birds. No ornithologist can predict the number of birds migrating in winter and autumn and arriving in spring. In some years, many tap dancers arrive, in others - small flocks, and a year later scientists fail to find a single bird on the site of last year's nesting site.

Every day, tap dancers move to new places rich in seeds. Birds abandon their nomadic lifestyle only during the period of nesting and raising chicks.

Population and status of the species

The distribution area of ​​the tap dance is very extensive, but there is no specific data on the number of these little birds. It is only known that in different regions and at different times their number can vary significantly. It all depends on the amount of food in a particular area and the climate at different times of the year.

Where there are many cones, plant seeds and berries, numerous flocks of tap dancers may suddenly appear, announcing their arrival with hubbub and chirps. Birds wander in search of food, therefore, it is not possible to track where their population is large, and where it is too small, these indicators are too variable and inconsistent.

As for the special conservation status, the common tap dance does not have it. According to the international classification of the IUCN, these birds belong to the species that causes the least concern, in other words, the threat of extinction of the tap dancers is not terrible, which is good news. On the territory of our country, tap dance is also not listed in the Red Book. Perhaps this happens because many feathered couples manage to have offspring twice, and sometimes three times in one summer period.

Of course, there are factors that negatively affect bird life, these are, first of all, anthropogenic ones. People indirectly influence the way of life of birds, engaging in various, sometimes, unfavorable activities for the environment. Man changes landscapes, cutting down forest thickets, plowing up land, grazing livestock, draining marshlands, and polluting the environment as a whole.

All this negatively affects many of our smaller brothers, including the tap dancers, but, fortunately, there are no sharp declines in the number of the bird population, so the birds are not threatened with extinction. It is hoped that their livestock will remain stable in the future.

In conclusion, it remains to add that the miniature tap dance brings great benefits to people, because birds eat a lot of weed seeds and a large number of aphids that are harmful to crops. These fearless babies do not shy away from a person and in hungry frosty times try to ask him for help, flying closer to human dwellings and feeding troughs. In winter, it is imperative to feed the birds to make it easier for them to survive the harsh season. And they will delight us not only with their perky disposition, an unusual song, but with bright scarlet hats, which stand out especially against the background of a snow-white winter landscape.


Like many other goldfinches, fuzzy ones are often kept at home. They do not require special conditions and even breed in captivity, however, in order to maintain a bright color, birds need a special diet with a high carotene content.