The Citril Finch (Carduelis citrinella) is a small songbird and member of the finch family. For a long time, it was placed in the genus Serinus, but it is apparently more closely related to the European Goldfinch (Arnaiz-Villena et al., 1998, contra van den Elzen & Khoury, 1999).
This bird is a resident breeder in the mountains of southwestern Europe from Spain to the Alps. Its northernmost breeding area is found in the Black Forest (Förschler & Kalko 2006)
The 12 cm long Citril Finch is greyish above, with a brown tinge to the back, which also has black streaks. The underparts and the double wing bars are yellow. It shares with its relatives a bright face mask which is also yellow in this species.
Sexes are similar, although young females may be greyish below, and juvenile birds, unlike in European Serinus species, are brown, lacking any yellow or green in the plumage.
The song is a silvery twittering resembling that of the Goldfinch and the Serin. The main call is a tee-ee quite similar to the Siskin.
The Corsican Finch was formerly regarded a subspecies of the Citril Finch, but it differs in morphology and vocalization (Cramp & Perrins, 1994, Förschler & Kalko 2007) as well as mtDNA sequence (Sangster, 2000, contra Pasquet & Thibault, 1997) and they are now considered distinct species (Sangster et al., 2002).
The two forms differ in their habitat selection. While the mainland Citril Finch is rather restricted to high level mountain coniferous forests and alpine meadows (Förschler & Kalko 2006, Förschler et al. 2006), the insular Corsican Finch may be found in different habitats from sea level to the highest mountain slopes (Förschler & Kalko 2006). The Citril Finch nests mainly in conifers such as Pines and Spruces while the Corsican Finch as well in lower bushes such as Tree Heath, Juniper and Bramble (Förschler & Kalko 2006).