English  | Français  | Español
Lists:  CAN        
Number of species: 80

Select a species:

  
 
:   Clear  

Pine Siskin - Spinus pinus

Ageing and sexing of Pine Siskins is relatively challenging, as there is considerable overlap between sexes in plumage characteristics, and feather shape and wear seem to differ less by age than in some other species.  Confirmation of age by skull ossification, and of sex by brood patch / cloacal protuberance is preferable, when possible.  Sex of HY/SY birds can generally not been identified by plumage, though that appears to be possible for at least some AHY/ASY Pine Siskins. Further study of known age/sex individuals is highly encouraged.

Quick Tips:

  • Look at the extent of yellow on the primaries extending beyond the primary coverts - the length typically ranges from several mm on AHY/ASY males to largely absent on HY/SY birds, with AHY/ASY females intermediate and unreliably separated by this characteristic
  • Examine the outer rectrices - they are relatively broad and rounded on AHY/ASY birds and tend to be somewhat narrower and more pointed on HY/SY birds, though intermediates can be difficult to assess; extensive yellow patches on the rectrices are likely indicative of AHY/ASY males
  • Check for molt limits among the greater coverts or between the greater coverts and primary coverts; they can be subtle, but if distinctly present are a reliable indicator of HY/SY birds

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
Juvenile / Unknown
Largely brownish with buffy tones
Thumbnail - MG2-9900-00009-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3377.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9900-00009-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3375.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-9900-00009-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3376.jpg
Date: May 26
Hatch year / Unknown
Small to moderately extensive yellow patches on the primaries; yellow generally lacking on the tail; outer rectrices narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24654-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3359.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24654-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3357.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24654-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3358.jpg
Date: Oct 13
After hatch year / Male
Extensive yellow patches on the primaries and tail; outer rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24646-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3353.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24646-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3351.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24646-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3352.jpg
Date: Oct 13
After hatch year / Female
Small to moderately extensive yellow patches on the primaries; occasionally some yellow on the tail; outer rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24653-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3356.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24653-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3354.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2560-24653-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3355.jpg
Date: Oct 13
Second year / Unknown
Small to moderately extensive yellow patches on the primaries; yellow generally lacking on the tail; outer rectrices narrow and pointed
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40311-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3371.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40311-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3369.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40311-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3370.jpg
Date: Feb 15
After second year / Male
Extensive yellow patches on the primaries and tail; outer rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40313-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3362.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40313-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3360.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2460-40313-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3361.jpg
Date: Feb 15
After second year / Female
Small to moderately extensive yellow patches on the primaries; occasionally some yellow on the tail; outer rectrices broad and rounded
Thumbnail - MH3-2560-25337-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3365.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2560-25337-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3363.jpg Thumbnail - MH3-2560-25337-Spinus_pinus_AOU_7_52-3364.jpg
Date: Apr 23

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Number of species: 80

Select a species: