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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Linnet

Bird Sightings - Twite

Twite or linnet?

Photograph © Frank Stark
North Lochs - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
16th April, 2008

"i have attached a photo of a twite that was in my garden tonight.
it is perched on a super duper nijer seed feeder i bought from the r.s.p.b., specifically to accommodate the Goldfinches that have been visiting my garden. However, the Goldfinches have ignored this top of the range seed, and feeder, preferring instead to eat peanuts from a wire mesh holder ."

"I think i might have made a mistake regarding the Twite!
I managed to get a better look at the bird tonight and it might just be a female Linnet?
I have never come across a linnet up here and automatically assumed it was a Twite when i saw it at first but, this bird seems to have more white on the primaries, and the pale unstreaked throat,usually found on a Linnet. I also think the bill would still be Yellow if it was a Twite, but i am not entirely certain abouit this.

Ask for other folks opinions?"



There is an article written by Keith Vinicombe about distinguishing between a winter twite and linnet here

Keith wrote of the twite " ..an obviously yellow bill in winter, contrasting with the face. In summer the bill is grey (it normally starts to darken in March-April; "


Thanks to all who voted!


I managed to get a better photo of that wee broon bird (attached) and you can see clearly now that it is indeed a Linnet.

Frank Stark 22nd April, 2008

Bird Sightings : Linnet


(Common Linnet)

Carduelis cannabina

Gaelic: Gealan lin

Our Linnet photographs



  • Common Linnet
  • Carduelis cannabina
  • Gaelic: Gealan lin
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: RED LIST, 540,000 territories RSPB
  • WI: Scarce (1-9 breeding pairs) migrant breeder and passage visitor
  • Habitat: Open country: farmland, heathland, rough ground, farmland hedges, saltmarshes, parks, gardens
  • Diet: Seeds & insects
  • Small, slim finch. Breeding males have crimson foreheads & breasts, females much browner. Undulating flight, (often twittering as it goes).
  • Typical lifespan 2yrs
  • Listen to a Linnet (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Twite, Common Redpoll, Mealy Redpoll

The linnet has a melodious song popular and was a popular cage bird.


Linnet records in the Western Isles

Scarce (1-9 breeding pairs) migrant breeder and passage visitor

The chart below shows how abundant the Linnet is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.













(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Frank's web site of his nature photography

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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