Goldfinches are small songbirds that naturally occur in Europe, North Africa, and western and central Asia. They are found in open, wooded lowlands and usually nest in tall trees. Goldfinches prefer to eat small seeds such as those from thistles (their Latin name is from carduus, thistle) but they also prey on insects. In winter they form flocks and frequently visit bird feeders.
Goldfinches (usually called European goldfinches to distinguish them from North American goldfinch species) are commonly kept and bred in captivity because of their colorful plumage and pleasing song. Males and females are similar in appearance and generally live about 10 years in captivity.