PJ_NI's picture


Observed: 3rd December 2010 By: PJ_NIPJ_NI’s reputation in BirdsPJ_NI’s reputation in Birds

Very large flock in access of 400 - 500 birds. Have been resident in a set aside field for last two weeks.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


kcf32's picture

Linnet or twite

Comparing this photograph with the pictures and descriptions in my guide I cannot determine if this is linnet or twite. So, can anyone give guidance as to why this is a linnet.


Syrphus's picture

Jizz. It just looks like a

Jizz. It just looks like a Linnet.

The key points are not obvious, but the fact the bill is not yellow (Twite is not called flavirostris for nothing) is about the only really objective character in this pic. The wingbar is not strong enough for Twite, the tail appears too short, there is no obvious buff on the face, and the streaking on the back is not as strong as one would expect for Twite.

The best way to tell them apart is call - the Twite's rising 'zhweet' is unmistakeable, and is always given if you hang around for a few minutes (and less if you have a flock), but that does not help here.

Having said that, there has obviously already been an argument, so stand by for another here ...!



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

kcf32's picture



Unfortunately I don't see either very often so not easy to build up that "it just is" recognition.


Syrphus's picture

There is a nice pic of Twite

There is a nice pic of Twite at http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/101706 showing the long tail. Twite is always an more elongate bird in the field than Linnet because of its longer tail. It is frustrating when folk talk about ID by jizz, but that is how most bird ID is done, especially when the key objective features are not visible in a picture, so stick at it. It will come with experience.

[Added later] You can hear the call at http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/t/twite/index.aspx.



recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

Apus's picture


Looks like Twite to me. Much too much streaking on mantle and flanks for Linnet and bill colour hard to determine in this pic. Bolder face pattern also visible.

bobthebirder's picture


Winter linnets are always heavily streaked, the males only lose the streaks in the summer. See a photo of a similar bird on the Portland Bird Observatory web site at http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/latest_oct2010.htm
(you'll need to scroll half way down the page).

Bob Ford

Norwichnaturalist's picture

These are Linnets

Linnets, no doubt about it

Colin Jacobs.
Wild Flower Society member

PJ_NI's picture


Hi folks - can I first of all thank you all for your help with this ID - it's been very interesting. I've uploaded a couple more images - one showing a clearer view of the beak and one to show the size of the flock.Hope this may be of some help.

Regards to all,

Paul Jeffers