Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus)

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Red Siskin
Spinus cucullatus
Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus)
Name Red Siskin
Name Lat. Spinus cucullatus
Synonym Carduelis cucullata
Family Finches and Allies
Family lat. Fringillidae
Order Perching Birds
Order lat. Passeriformes
Origin South America
Climate Subtropical - tropical
Diet Finch seed, veggies, insects
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Cup nest
Life Span 6-12 years
Protection CITES Appendix I; EC Annex A
Metric Units
Size 10.5 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 80 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 4.1"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 30" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

Hooded Siskins are native to northeastern Colombia and northern Venezuela. They live in moist evergreen forests, grasslands with shrubs and dry deciduous forests, and cultivated land, at 100-1,500 m altitude.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 80 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) for a pair. The cage size must not be undercut even in case of justified single keeping. For an additional 2-3 birds, assuming species compatibility, the floor space must be increased by 25%. The cage must be placed in a bright, draught-free and quiet place at a height of at least 80 cm (except aviaries), have a rectangular base and be opaque on three sides, aviaries on one side. Keeping in an aviary is preferable.


The floor must be covered with sand, wood granulate, bark mulch or similar material and must be cleaned regularly. At least 3 perches made of wood or branches of varying thickness and height must be installed in such a way that they can only be reached by flying and that the longest possible flight distance is created. They need a bathing opportunity as well as biotope-like hiding, sleeping and nesting possibilities. It is recommended to provide them with grasses, twigs and bushes. The room temperature must not fall below 15 °C.


The species-specific feed offer consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "Zeisigfutter" in premium quality, supplemented with foxtail millet, green feed (chickweed, green panicle millet, fresh grass panicles, cucumber slices, organic lettuce etc.), tangle grass seeds, insect feed and especially for raising the young germinated seeds (millet, negro seeds, egg feed and insect larvae such as small chopped seeds).), tangle grass seeds, insect food and especially for raising young germinated seeds (millet, negro seeds), egg food and insect larvae, such as small, skinned, cut-up mealybug larvae, ant pupae, small buffalos and aphids. Charcoal, vitamine lime, and shell grit are needed as digestive aids. Drinking water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers. Food and water must be offered fresh daily, and the containers must be cleaned beforehand.

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

In the male, the head and throat are black, the rest of the plumage is bright red.

They breed in open nesting boxes or freely in the branches. Suitable nesting material is sisal, moss, jute fibers, nest wool (Scharpie) and animal hair. The clutch consists of 4-5 eggs, the incubation period is about 13 days. The breeding season is, biologically speaking, all year round. During the breeding season they may be kept only in pairs. When breeding, the room temperature should be at least 20 °C.

Species protection

They are exempt from the obligation to notify (Federal Species Protection Ordinance Annex 5 to § 7 para. 2). Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.

Species protection: WA Appendix I; EU Appendix A. The purchase receipt is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe!


They must not be kept in a round cage. An aviary is required for swarm keeping.

When kept in an outdoor aviary with a height of at least 1.70 m, they also require a heated shelter with a floor area of at least 1 m², which can be visited by the birds at any time. The temperature in the shelter must not fall below 15 °C and the furnishings must correspond to those of cage keeping.

They may only be kept in pairs or in a group or flock

Sufficient daylight or flicker-free artificial light (stroboscopic effect) corresponding to daylight must be provided in rooms, including shelters. The lighting duration shall be 8-14 hours per day and the natural day-night rhythm shall be observed. Adequate indoor climate shall be provided. The health condition of the birds shall be checked daily

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Othmar Sieberer; Image: Othmar Sieberer

Source: BMELV (1995): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Kleinvögeln; CLASSEN & MASSOTH (1992): Handbuch der Cardueliden, Band 2, Hanke Verlag; GRUMMT & STREHLOW (2009): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Vögel, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF