Girlitz / Serin
Girlitz / europ. Serin / Serin cini / Serinus serinus


Serin male

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Genus: Serinus
Species: Serin
Family: Fringillidae


Serin female

Gelege mit Jungvogel
Nest, eggs and chick

The relatives

Serinus canaria
Canary (serinus canaria)

Serinus syrius
Syrian Serin  (serinus syriacus)

europ. Serin / Girlitz / Serinus serinus
Finches Fringillidae

The serin belong to the Family of finches, in the underorder of songbirds and to the Order of sparrows. The dainty and lively little bird immigrated into Germany through the Rhine Valley and Hessen.

Our serin is closely related to wild canaries from the Canary Islands. He weighs just 11 to 14 grams and is our smallest hardbill besides the common siskin. As the picture shows, the sexes are differently colored. In the wild he can be identified by his dainty structure, the the yellow rump, and the tiny beak. So can he be differentiated from other birds, especially by his song.
His peppy call can be likened to a squeeky wagon. The Serin belong to the most loved and longkept caged birds. They are easy to feed with fine seeds and in large cages easy to breed. That they are closely related to the canary allows them, especially the female to interbreed. The offspring from both birds are fertile. This type of breeding is, in my opinion, no longer in keeping with the times. The pure breeding of these “whisky” little birds is preferred.

At the end of March, the Serin leaves Southern Europe to return to his homeland. He is to be found in populated areas, especially in parks and gardens, where daily his delicate twittering song is heard. The male prefers to perch on thin twigs or telegraph cables. After the nesting time is finished, the serin gather for small flocks and feed on wild seed. In October they gather to make their flight to their winter home. The Serin currentsy inhabits almost all of Europe with the exception of England and Scandinavia.

Length: 11,5 cm The female is not as fresh colored as the male an has on her head dark spots cluck: shrill „girlttt" song: chirps and twitter eggs: 14,4 to 17.6 x 11,0 to 12,7 mm

Open woodland and cultivation, preferably with some conifers, is favoured for breeding. It builds its nest in a conifer or citrus tree, laying 3-5 eggs.

The food is mainly seeds, and, in the breeding season, insects. This small serin is an active and often conspicuous bird.

Tending and keeping:

During breeding it is best to keep the pair alone in an aviary, as during this time they can become quite aggressive. This can add a lot of stress to a community aviary. In a very large enclosure, they can be kept with other finches. As soon as the pair is establised, the female begins to build a nest on a branch or in a wicker nest. The nest is composed of thin roots, leaf blades, sisal, raffia, and pieces of leaves, and lined with feathers and plant materials such as thistle down so thickly that the 3-5 eggs are barely to be seen. The female alone incubates the eggs, and the male regularly brings nourishment to the nest. The chicks remain in the nest for 11-14 days, and are cared for for another 10 days after leaving the nest.

As the Serin is very undemanding, he is excellent for beginners. The most critical time during breeding is the “weaning” of the babies. They are, as greenlet,s most prone to bacterial infections at this time.


The population has been expanding northwards from the Mediterranean, however, and reached Scandinavia and Britain during the 1970's. There were 20 pairs on Jersey and a few pairs in Devon but the expected colonisation did not take place. In recent years only a few singing males have been found in Britain and there is usually no further evidence of breeding.

Verbreitung des europ. Girlitz