Saffron siskin | American birds

   ›      ›   Saffron siskin - Spinus siemiradzkii

The saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii) belongs to the family of siskins, canaries and grosbeaks, the Fringillidae.

The saffron siskin is distributed over southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru in South America. These siskin species are listed as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN. These siskins are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Saffron Siskin Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii) is a small siskin, measuring 10 to 11 cm in length.

The male saffron siskin has glossy black hood covering the head, nape and throat. The lower neck and back are grayish yellow. The underparts, rump and the tail are bright yellow. The tail has a broad black terminal band.

The saffron siskin wings are black with yellow patches. The female has overall greenish yellow plumage and lacks black on the head. The terminal tail band is grayish in female.

The grayish bill is short and sharp. The irises are blackish. There is a pale gray eye-ring. The legs and feet are short and grayish. The call is a high pitched twittering sound.
Bird World - Image of Saffron siskin - Spinus siemiradzkii
1.Bird World - Image of Saffron siskin - Spinus siemiradzkii by John Gerrard Keulemans

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The saffron siskin is distributed over southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru in South America.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of saffron siskin species in Peru are, Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape and Coto de Caza El Angolo.

Some of the IBA of these birds in Ecuador are, La Tagua, Engunga, Parque Nacional Machalilla y alrededores, Cañón del río Catamayo, Bosque Protector Puyango, Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco and Bosque Protector Chongón-Colonche.

Ecosystem and habitat

The saffron siskin species have low forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes between 0 to 750 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include urban areas and rural gardens.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these species include subtropical and tropical dry forests, edges of dry woodlands, subtropical and tropical grasslands, lowland dry deciduous forests and dry shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the saffron siskin species consists mainly of plant matter. Wild seeds, grains, flowers, buds, leaves and insects are their primary food. These species forage mostly on the ground.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of this siskin species is from January to May, during the wet season. Not much is known about its breeding and nesting habits.

Migration and movement patterns

The saffron siskin species are non-migratory resident birds. Nomadic movements have been observed in these species in response to climatic conditions.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Saffron siskin - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Spinus siemiradzkii
  • Species author: (Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Chrysomitris siemiradzkii Berlepsch and Taczanowski, 1884
  • Family: Fringillidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia,
  • Vernacular names: English: Saffron siskin, Chinese: 红金翅雀, French: Tarin safran, German: Safranzeisig, Spanish: Jilguero azafranado, Russian: Шафрановый чиж, Japanese: サフランヒワ
  • Other names: Saffron Siskin
  • Distribution: South America (Ecuador and Peru)
  • Diet and feeding habits: seeds, flowers, buds, leaves, insects
  • IUCN status listing: Vulnerable (VU)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii) is estimated to number about 1,500 to 7,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be uncommon to rare. The generation length is 4.2 years. Its distribution size is about 36,300

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion, agricultural expansion, deforestation and logging activities are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this siskin species.

IUCN and CITES status

The saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii) has approached the thresholds for being Vulnerable, under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the siskin species and has listed it as "Vulnerable".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Spinus siemiradzkii
Species:S. siemiradzkii
Binomial name:Spinus siemiradzkii
IUCN status listing:
The saffron siskin (Spinus siemiradzkii) is closely related to the hooded siskin (Spinus magellanicus).
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Image source:
Image author: John Gerrard Keulemans (1842–1912) | License: Public domain
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