The genus Carduelis[1] is a group of birds in the finch family Fringillidae.

Carduelis carduelis 1.jpg
The European goldfinch belongs to a group of red- or yellow-faced species
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Genus: Carduelis
Brisson, 1760

3, see text

The genus Carduelis was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 by tautonomy based on Carl Linnaeus's specific epithet for the European goldfinch Fringilla carduelis.[2][3] The name carduelis is the Latin word for the European goldfinch.[4]

Many bird species were at one time assigned to the genus, but it became clear from phylogenetic studies of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences that the genus was polyphyletic.[5][6] The polyphyletic nature of the genus was confirmed by Dario Zuccon and coworkers in a comprehensive study of the finch family published in 2012. The authors suggested splitting the genus into several monophyletic clades, a proposal that was accepted by the International Ornithologists' Union.[7] The siskins and goldfinches from the Americas formed a distinct clade and were moved to the resurrected genus Spinus, the greenfinches were moved to the genus Chloris, the twite and linnets formed another clade and were moved to the genus Linaria and finally the redpolls were moved to the genus Acanthis.[8]


The genus Carduelis is now restricted to three European species:[8]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Carduelis carduelis European goldfinch Europe, North Africa and western Asia.
  Carduelis citrinella Citril finch Europe from Spain to the Alps
  Carduelis corsicana Corsican finch Corsica and on the Italian islands of Sardinia, Elba, Capraia and Gorgona


  1. ^ From Latin carduus, "thistle". Thistle seeds are a favorite food of many species.
  2. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jnr., ed. (1968). Check-list of birds of the world, Volume 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 234.
  3. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques. Ornithologie (in Latin and French). Paris. Volume 1 p. 36; Volume 3 p. 53.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  5. ^ Arnaiz-Villena, A.; Alvarez-Tejado, M.; Ruiz-del-Valle, V.; García-de-la-Torre, C.; Varela, P.; Recio, M.; Ferre, S.; Martinez-Laso, J. (1999). "Rapid Radiation of Canaries (Genus Serinus)". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 16 (1): 2–11. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026034.
  6. ^ Nguembock, B.; Fjeldså, J.; Couloux, A.; Pasquet, E. (2009). "Molecular phylogeny of Carduelinae (Aves, Passeriformes, Fringillidae) proves polyphyletic origin of the genera Serinus and Carduelis and suggests redefined generic limits". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 51 (2): 169–181. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.10.022. PMID 19027082.
  7. ^ Zuccon, Dario; Prŷs-Jones, Robert; Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Ericson, Per G.P. (2012). "The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of finches (Fringillidae)" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 62 (2): 581–596. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.10.002. PMID 22023825.
  8. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 June 2015.

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