British wildlife recordings

Acanthis cannabina : Linnet - Fringillidae

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  • Shelf mark

    W1CDR0001524 BD16

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  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Frensham Great Pond, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(484500,140500)

  • Recordist

    Williams, Aubrey John

  • Species

    Linnet, Acanthis cannabina

  • Description

    A call made by a linnet recorded on Frensham Great Pond, Surrey. The linnet is a small, slim finch with quite a longish forked tail and a short bill. The male in breeding plumage has crimson patches on either side of the breast and a crimson patch on the crown, but the most distinctive feature is its fast and pleasant warbling song that resulted in its popularity as a caged bird in Victorian Britain. A widespread bird in Britain, the linnet breeds mainly on gorse-covered commons and rough areas of scrubby grassland where it feeds on an abundant numbers of seeds from a wide variety of plants. Outside the breeding season, the linnet forms large flocks as it searches for food on farmland and coastal marshes. The song of the male is most commonly heard during spring and usually delivered in full view from the top of a bush. The linnet often breeds in small colonies in a low-down bush or tussock and the adults may raise two or three broods depending on food supply and weather conditions. Over the last 25 years, the linnet, in common with many other agricultural birds, has declined severely. This has been identified as primarily due to the use of herbicides. There are currently 520,000 territories recorded in Britain.

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