Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.25(2). (2017) p.1-10.

Phylogeny and evolution of the European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and its allies – a review of the “bird of the year”
Jenő Nagy

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In 2017 the European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) was voted to be the “bird of the year” in Hungary. This is a partially migrant species; most of the European populations are resident, however, its breeding range extends to East from the Sweden-Poland-Moldova axis towards the Yenisei with some of the populations wintering in Kazakhstan and South of Turkey. The European Goldfinch is classified within the Carduelinae subfamily including approximately a hundred species. Several taxonomic changes were introduced in this group during the last fifteen years, however, we still do not understand much of their origin and evolutionary history. My aim in this paper is to collect existing knowledge on the phylogeny and evolution of the Carduelinae finches and their allies, with a particular focus on the European Goldfinch and its closest relatives. Furthermore, here I point out uncertainties in different phylogenetic sources of finches, which careful consideration can be useful in similar evolutionary studies. Finally, I summarise some vision for future research.