Twite (Carduellis flavirostris)

Back To Back To Home Page Back To Birds Page


What Doest the twite look like ?

The twite is a small, brown bird, similar in size to a linnet but with a longer tail and stubbier bill. Its back is tawny, heavily streaked with dark brown, its flanks have dark-brown streaks and its belly is white. In breeding plumage the male's rump is pink. It forms large flocks in winter when it spends most of the time feeding on the ground .The Twite looks very much like a juvenile Linnet since it has the same white panels in the wing and tail. In winter though the Twite are readily distinguished since it has a bright, pale, yellowish bill which stands out against an otherwise dark head. Only in certain lights will the bill of a Linnet look pale. In summer the Twite's bill is darker so you must rely on more subtle features: the Twite is generally darker and drabber than a Linnet with a neater pale bar across the wing and a plainer, buff face and throat with hardly any evidence of dark and light moustchial lines. Summer is also the time when the pink rump of the male Twite is most obvious.

How big Is It ?

Aprox 13.5 cm, weighing 18 g







Where does it live?

Moorland in Winter , Coastal Fields and Saltmarshes. Twites need an abundance of seeds throughout spring and summer and tall ground vegetation for nesting.


In the UK twites breed in rough unenclosed, grazing land between moorland and farmland. twites also breed in mountain habitats, including corries, and on coastal heath, as well as on coastal grassland and heath. In other locations , nests are mainly in tall heather or among mounds of bracken litter towards the moorland edge, often close to streams or gullies.


Large Flocks > ,1000 birds occur on saltmarsh, beaches, fields of turnip, rape or other stubbles and roosting in reedbeds or brambles.

When does it Breed ?

May to June , 5- 6 eggs, Incubation 12 - 13 days , young fledging at 15 days, Double Brooded


Where to see it

Breeds on the moorlands of the Scottish Highlands, northern England and N Wales. In winter some remain in N and W Scotland, near the coast, while others, including Continental birds, move to the coast of eastern England wher they can be found on saltmarshes and coastal fields.

What does it eat?


What does it sound like?

A nasal 'tzeeip'; a jangling linnet-like song

When to see it

Breeding areas are occupied from April to September. Birds then move out of their upland range, going to more coastal areas, with Pennines breeders going to the east coast of England. They stay on the coast from October until March.

Similar species



Twite Images