It is similar in size and shape to a Linnet, at 13 to 13.5 centimetres (5.1 to 5.3 in) long. The Twite lacks the red head patch and breast shown by the Linnet and the redpolls. It is brown streaked with black above, and a pink rump. The underparts are buff to whitish, streaked with brown. The conical bill is yellow in winter and grey in summer.

Habitat and Distribution

The Twite breeds in northern Europe and across central Asia. Treeless moorland is favoured for breeding. It is partially resident, but many birds migrate further south, or move to the coasts. It has declined sharply in parts of its range, notably Ireland. Twites can form large flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with other finches on coasts and salt marshes.


The Twite birds feed mainly on seeds.


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

Calls and Songs

The call is a distinctive `twit`, from which derives its name, and the song contains fast trills and twitters.