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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

European goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Common name:

European goldfinch

Scientific name:

Carduelis carduelis

Alternative common names:

British Goldfinch, Eastern Goldfinch, Eurasian Goldfinch, European Goldfinch, Goldfinch, Gray-crowned Goldfinch.

The goldfinch is native to Europe, North Africa, and western and central Asia. It is found in open, partially wooded lowlands and is a resident in the milder west of its range, but migrates from colder regions. It is a popular cage-bird species and has been introduced to many areas of the world. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Europe, North Africa, and western and central Asia.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA - Category 2 - permit required to keep it in South Africa.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    It was once seen in the Western Cape in Cape Town in the 1890s and was probably an escapee, as were birds that nested but did not survive and were again seen in the early 1900s in Gauteng.

    How does it spread?

    Escapees from the pet trade.

    Why is it a problem?

    They have no recognised impacts on native species, but have become invasive elsewhere, such as in eastern Australia. Locally, they could compete with indigenous birds over the same resources.

    What does it look like?

    Description: The European goldfinch is a strikingly beautiful bird, with a bright red face, black and white head and a deep golden yellow bar on the otherwise jet-black wings. Another notable feature is the long, pointed beak, which allows this species to extract seeds from teasels. Males and females are similar in appearance, although females have shorter beaks. Juveniles have greyish-brown streaked heads, lacking the red, white and black pattern of the adults. Habitat: In farmland, orchards, coastal vegetation, riverbeds, plantations and urban areas – almost anywhere other than dense forests. Breeding: European goldfinch pairs defend a small territory around the nest, with the male singing his pleasant liquid song from a nearby perch. The small woven cup nest lined with thistle down, feathers or wool is usually placed among foliage in an outer fork of a tree, shrub. or grape vine. The breeding season from October to February allows time to raise two broods of up to six chicks each (typically 4-5). The male feeds the female on the nest while she incubates and broods the young chicks; both sexes feed the chicks for their final week in the nest, and for the first 2-3 weeks after fledging.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more