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Red Crossbills (Male).jpg
male red crossbills
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Carduelinae
Vigors, 1825

49, see text

The cardueline finches are a subfamily, Carduelinae, one of three subfamilies of the finch family Fringillidae, the others being the Fringillinae and the Euphoniinae. The Hawaiian honeycreepers are now included in this subfamily.[1] Cardueline finches are specialised seed eater, and unlike most passerine birds, they feed their young mostly on seeds, which are regurgitated.[2] Besides this, they differ from the other finches in some minor details of their skull.[2] They are adept at opening seeds and clinging to stems, unlike other granivorous birds, such as sparrows and buntings, which feed mostly on fallen seeds.[3] Some members of this subfamily are further specialised to feed on a particular type of seed, such as cones, in the case of crossbills.[2] Carduelines forage in flocks throughout the year, rather than keeping territories, and males defend their females rather than a territory or nest.[4]

The name Carduelina[e] for the subfamily was introduced by the Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors in 1825.[5][6] Carduelinae is derived from the Latin name carduelis and the binomial name Carduelis carduelis for a goldfich, one of the species in the subfamily.[7]

List of genera[edit]

The Carduelinae subfamily contains 183 species divided into 49 genera. Of the 183 species, 15 are now extinct; these are the Bonin grosbeak and 14 Hawaiian honeycreepers.[8]


  1. ^ Groth, 2001, pp. 552–553
  2. ^ a b c Newton, 1973, p. 31
  3. ^ Groth, 2001, p. 557
  4. ^ Groth, 2001, p. 558
  5. ^ Bock, Walter J. (1994). History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History Issue 222. p. 264. 
  6. ^ Vigors, Nicholas Aylward (1825). "Sketches in ornithology". Zoological Journal 2 (7): 398. 
  7. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  8. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.3. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 

Literature cited[edit]

  • Groth, Jeffrey G. (2001). "Finches and Allies". In Elphick, Chris; Dunning, John B. Jr.; Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 552–560. ISBN 978-1-4000-4386-6. 
  • Newton, Ian (1973). Finches. The New Naturalist Library 55. New York: Taplinger. ISBN 0-8008-2720-1.