European serin, Serin
Geographical distribution and habitat
The European serin, or just called “Serin”, is one of the European birds that belong to the genus Serinus. Originally it is a bird from southern Europe: Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy and the coastal areas of former Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece and Turkey. These birds are also found in the eastern part of North Africa. For some years ago Serinus serinus made an entrance to some more northern European countries. Their habitat is an open landscape like parks, vineyards, gardens and other cultivated areas. Sometimes the European serin stays very close to people. Their presence can be heard by singing of the male, preferable presented from a high singing place. In the summer months these European serins eat unripe seeds of dandelion (Taraxacum), shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) and other seeds that are available in those months. During winter, they find their seeds on the ground.
Size: 11 cm (4.3 Inch)
Description and subspecies
Sexes differ in color and drawing; males are more yellow-green, especially on the head and in the neck; females are less pronounced in color and overall more greyish. Males have yellow-green tailfeathers. As with a number of other Serinus species, an inspection of the feathers of the throat can give more certainty of the gender of these birds. Females have a tendency to have a more greyish color in the area of the throat, sometimes a bit yellow and with more fine striping. Adult males lack these stripes on the throat. There are no subspecies of Serinus serinus. But there are great color differences in plumage, at both males and in females. Some males have an intensive yellow appearance. There is also some color difference depending on the seasons; in spring, the males seem to become more yellow.
The European serin is a European bird species and therefore covered by the legal regulations for European birds. In European aviculture, they need to be ringed due to the legal regulations. In the Netherlands with a legal ring for European species (2,5mm). In aviculture Serinus serinus can be kept in large breeding cages (minimum length 100 cm / 40 Inch) or small aviaries in which one couple can be kept. Sometimes the male will disturb the female on the nest. In that case the male can better be removed to let the female raise the young by herself. The European serin lives mainly on a vegetarian diet and does not necessarily need (living) insects for feeding and rearing their young. Nests as in use for canaries will do fine in aviculture. The song of Serinus serinus is one with overall high tones and is frequently recited. There are a few mutations known, like brown and agate which where presumably obtained by crossing with domesticated colored canaries.
The original scientific name of the European serin according to the Linnaeus system was Fringilla serinus. Later this taxonomy was converted by Koch into Serinus serinus. Serinus became the genus name of a number of related bird species. The European Society of Serinus Breeders (ESSB) emphasizes this group of birds.