Key facts

Scientific name: Serinus serinus

Status: Scarce passage migrant, occasional breeder

Breeding birds: 1-2 pairs

UK passage: 66 birds

Conservation status: Former breeder

Family: Finches

Length: 11 – 12 cm

Wingspan: 18 – 20 cm

Weight: 12 – 15 g


Adult male serins have dull yellow and dull brown streaked upperparts with a bright yellow rump. Their uppertail coverts and tail are dark brown with fine yellow edges on the retrices. They have pale tips on their upperwings forming two wingbars, and their flight feathers are dark brown with paler edges.

Serins have a bright yellow chin, throat and breast. Their bellies, vent, and undertail coverts are white and the sides of their breasts and flanks are streaked with black.

They have a bright yellow forehead and forecrown. Their cheeks, ear-coverts, and moustachial stripe are olive-grey, and their nape and the back of their crown is yellow-green with dark stripes.

Serins have short brown bills with a paler lower mandible. Their eyes are dark brown and their legs and feet are pinky-brown.

Females look similar to males but they have duller plumage with more streaking. Juveniles are browner than females with broadly streaked upperparts and paler underparts.


Serins breed between February and early August The female builds the nest which is a small platform made from twigs, stems, bark, roots, grass, moss, feathers, and hair.

Serins lay 3-4 pale eggs with fine dark marks which are incubated by the female alone for 12-13 days. Chicks are fed by both parents. They fledge at 15-18 days and are independent 9-10 days later.


Serins eat seeds, buds, shoots, and flowers. They will also take small invertebrates such as spiders and larvae.  


Where to see them

Serins are rare visitors to the UK. Sightings have been recorded in the south and east of England all year round but mostly in March and April.


Olivier SWIFT/xeno-canto

Did you know?

The serin is the smallest of the European finches and is closely related to the canary. 

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