The Kennedy Wild Bird Food guide to the linnet

The linnet is a frequent visitor to gardens across the UK, but due to its small size, can often be overlooked. The population has declined by 57% since 1970, so it’s time that the humble linnet was given some love. To find out more about this member of the finch family, take a look at our guide below.

What does a linnet look like?

The Linnet Bird

 

The linnet is a small bird, and is part of the thrush family of birds, which includes the siskin and linnet. It is around 13.5cm tall and is a slim finch. Males can be identified by their crimson head and breast, whereas females have a more subdued brown colour.

Linnet behaviour

Linnets are generally sociable birds and will form large flocks with other thrushes and species of birds outside of breeding season. Linnets have a distinctive undulating flight, and will generally make a twittering noise as they fly in their flocks.

Linnet song

Linnet’s singing voice is very melodious, so much so that they were once popular cage birds so people could listen to them. Listen out for fast trills and twitters, which can help you to identify a linnet.

 

Where can I find linnets?

Despite a heavily declining population, the linnet is still widespread across the UK, with 430,000 breeding pairs to be found all over the UK. There is a high population of linnets along the coast from Kent to Aberdeenshire, but they are scarcer in upland regions such as the North West. Look for them in rough land, commons, gardens and in the countryside. If you spot a linnet, make sure to log your sighting on our Birdspotter App.

Linnet Birdspotter

 

When to spot them

Linnet can be spotted all year round across the country, but may be more numerous during the spring breeding season.

Feeding linnets

Linnets live on a diet of seeds and insects in the wild, making our sunflower hearts a great option if you’re looking to support these beautiful little birds with food and nutrition in your diet.


If you choose to put out sunflower hearts for the garden birds and linnets in your garden, make sure to also supply a fresh source of water to help keep them hydrated too, particularly in the summer months. By keeping predators such as house cats out of your garden too, you’ll provide a safe haven for linnets to flourish.