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. This species can form large flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with other finches, such as twite, on coasts and salt marshes.
Habitat and Distribution
The common linnet breeds in Europe, western Asia and north Africa. It is partially resident, but many eastern and northern birds migrate further south in the breeding range or move to the coasts. They are sometimes found several hundred miles off-shore.
It feeds on the ground, and low down in bushes, its food mainly consisting of seeds, which it also feeds to its chicks. It likes small to medium sized seeds from most arable weeds, knotgrass, dock), crucifers (including charlock, shepherd's purse), chickweeds, dandelions, thistle, sow-thistle, mayweed, common groundsel, common hawthorn and birch. They have a small component of Invertebrates in their diet.
Open land with thick bushes is favoured for breeding, including heathland and garden. It builds its nest in a bush, laying 4-7 eggs.
Calls and Songs
The common linnet's pleasant song contains fast trills and twitters.