The 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.

Habitat and Distribution

The 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. Open land with thick bushes is favoured for breeding, including heathland and garden.


It feeds on the ground, and low down in bushes, its food is mainly seeds, which it also feeds to its chicks. It likes small to medium sized seeds from most arable weeds, crucifers, thistle, chickweeds. They also eat invertebrates.


It builds its nest in a bush, laying 4-7 eggs.

Calls and Songs

The linnet's pleasant song contains fast trills and twitters.