The Common Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) is a small passerine of the finch family, Fringillidae. It derives its scientific name from its fondness for hemp and its English name from its liking flax seed, from which linen is made. The common linnet is a slim bird with a long tail. The upper parts are brown, the throat is sullied white and the bill is grey. The summer male has a grey nape, red head-patch and red breast. Females and young birds lack the red and have white underparts, the breast streaked buff. Open land with thick bushes is favoured for breeding, including heathland and garden. It builds its nest in a bush, laying 4-7 eggs.The common linnet’s pleasant song contains fast trills and twitters. It feeds on the ground, and low down in bushes. The bird was a popular pet in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Tennyson mentions “the linnet born within the cage” in part 27 of the poem In Memoriam A.H.H, the same section that contains the famous lines “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all.”
Geography: United Kingdom
Song/Call: Click to hear the Common Linnet
Size/Weight: 5″ / 15 to 26 g
Lifespan: Up to 8 years
Sexing: Males have grey head, white throat and reddish brown plumage on the back. Crown and chest are pinkish-red colored during the breeding season. Females are brown colored, slightly duller compared to males. When not in color, the male is identical to the female.
If there is no gender option listed for a bird on our website, that particular species is ‘monomorphic’, which means we’re unable to determine gender without purchasing DNA testing. DNA testing is an additional $149 per bird to guarantee preferred gender. DNA testing may add an additional 3-6 plus weeks to estimated delivery time to allow for gender results. See our FAQs for more info.
Temperament: Linnets are very social and are known for their melodious song.
Breeding: Common linnets build cup-shaped nests made of grass and twigs in bushes and thorny trees. It builds its nest in a bush, laying 4-7 eggs. Mating season of common linnets takes place from April to August.
Diet: Goldfinch Seed Mix, Australian Blend Goldenfeast, chickweeds, dandelions, thistle, small amounts of invertebrate