From the family of Finches or Fringillidae, the term Carduelis carduelis is derived from the Latin for thistle (Carduus).
Common throughout the UK, apart from extreme highland areas, and most abundant in southern counties, the Goldfinch can be seen in places abundant with thistle, teasel and other seed-bearing plants. Known famously for its colourful red and yellow plumage, the Goldfinch is a somewhat cultural fascination, having been featured prominently in art and literature throughout the centuries. With a tendency to group together, these sociable birds will often flock in large numbers and feed at a suitable niger seed feeder.
Goldfinches are classified as Green i.e. Least Concern, and number in the 100s of thousands. According to RSPB research, there are around 313,000 breeding pairs in the UK, and there has been a large increase in Goldfinches visiting bird tables over the past few years, mainly due to the increase and availability of supplemental food in gardens.
Goldfinches have a penchant for warmer climates, and therefore, depending on the severity of the winter in the UK, a large proportion of the UK population may migrate as far south as Spain.