Linnet – 2003-07 breeding

Linaria cannabina – LLINOS – Breeding resident and passage migrant

Comparison with previous atlas:

1984-882003-07
Breeding confirmed137127
Breeding probable109205
Breeding possible9849
No of tetrads occupied344 (of 478)381 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads72%77.8%

The Linnet is a common finch of Pembrokeshire, though in decline elsewhere. The male with a red wash to the breast and forehead, twittering flight calls, and white edgings to wings and tail, is still a familiar sight, particularly around the coast and hills. The Linnet breeds in areas of rough grassland, sometimes in loose colonies. Much of this type of grassland has now been lost to more intensive agriculture, although some areas remain here, perhaps more so than elsewhere in the UK.

During the 1984-88 survey a figure of 25 pairs per tetrad was used to estimate the total population, which produced the figure of 8,600 pairs for Pembrokeshire. During the 2003-07 survey, the number of tetrads in which Linnet was recorded has increased by c.10%; the total tetrads with probable breeding increasing by c. 100%. Whether the breeding density has changed is perhaps for further testing. The BBS has recorded a decline of 27% in the Linnet population for the UK between 1994 and 2006. The long term trend 1974–2006 showed a decline in the order of 57%. Pembrokeshire may therefore be an important stronghold for this species.

Richard Dobbins

More about the Linnet in Pembrokeshire