Carduelis elegans, Steph, in Shaw’s Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 30 (1826) Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 196 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 36 ; Hewitson, i. p. 126, pl. l. fig. 1 ; Newton, ii. p. 117 ; Dresser, iii. p. 527, pl. 166 ; Saunders, p. 173 ; Lilford, iv. p. 53, pl. 26 Fringilla carduelis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 318 (1766) ; Naum. v. p. 126, Taf. 124, figs. 1, 2 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii p. 185 ; C. major, Tacz. P.Z.S. 1879, p. 672.
Chardonneret, French ; Pintasilgo, Portug. ; Gilguero, Span. ; Cardellino, Italian ; Stieglitz, Distelfink, German ; Distelvink, Dutch ; and Norw. ; Steglits, Swed. ; Tiklivarpunen, Finn. ; Shtchegol, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Feathers at the base of the bill, lores, hind crown, nape, and a crescentic line passing to the sides of the neck black ; fore¬crown, upper throat, and the space to behind the eye rich scarlet ; cheeks and a narrow nuchal line white ; back, scapulars, and rump warm wood-brown ; upper tail-coverts greyish white, but black at the base ; wings black but the larger wing-coverts and the basal half of the outer web of most of the quills rich gamboge, most having a white spot at the tip ; tail black, the middle feathers tipped with white, the outer with an oval white spot near the end of the inner web ; under parts white washed with brown on the breast and flanks ; bill whitish with the tip dark ; legs dull flesh ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.5, wing 3.15, tail 2.1, tarsus 0.6 incii ; tail slightly forked. The female resembles the male but is duller in colour and the lesser wing-coverts are brown. The. young lack the red on the head, are greyish brown above, have the quills tipped with brownish buff and the chin and throat are white.
Hab. Europe generally. chiefly resident : Scandinavia as far north as the Trondhjem Fjord ; North Africa, Canaries, Madeira ; Asia as far east as Krasnoyarsk ; wintering in Turkestan and Africa.
Frequents gardens, orchards, and groves, and is not a forest bird but is frequently seen in the open country, especially in the autumn and winter. In its general habits it is sprightly and active, and being an incessant songster is a favourite cage bird. It feeds chiefly on seeds, especially those of the thistle and other weeds, but the young are generally fed on insects. Its call-note is a sharp pick, pick, Pickelmik, and its song though agreeable is not so good as that of the Linnet. It breeds in May, building a very neat cup-shaped nest of moss, lichens, and fine roots carefully lined with plant-down and horsehair, usually placed on a low tree or a bush. The eggs 4 to 5 in number are greenish white with faint reddish shell- markings, and dark reddish brown blotches and streaks, which are more numerous at, and often form a zone round, the larger end. In size they average about 0.7 by 0.48.
The Goldfinch is subject to some variation, the best known being the white-chinned variety, or so-called “Cheverel” (cf. Newton, l.c.).
404. Carduelis elegans