The cardueline finches are a subfamily, Carduelinae, one of at least three subfamilies of the finch family Fringillidae, the others being the Fringillinae and the Euphoniinae. The Hawaiian honeycreepers are usually considered another subfamily, Drepanidinae, but they may be cardueline finches as well. Cardueline finches are specialised to eating seeds, and unlike most passerine birds, they feed their young mostly on seeds, which are regurgitated. Besides this, they differ from the other finches in some minor details of their skull. They are adept at opening seeds and clinging to stems, unlike other granivorous birds, such as sparrows and buntings, which feed mostly on fallen seeds. Some members of this subfamily are further specialised to feed on a particular type of seed, such as cones, in the case of crossbills. Carduelines forage in flocks throughout the year, rather than keeping territories, and males defend their females rather than a territory or nest.
The following genera are those usually considered the Carduelinae:
- Typical grosbeaks
- American rosefinches
- Arid-zone clade
- Asian rosefinches
- Goldfinch-canary-crossbill clade (Carduelis and Serinus are polyphyletic and are probably best regarded as a collection of independent sub-groups or genera.)
- Genus Serinus sensu lato – canaries, African seedeaters, serins and African siskins
- Genus Linurgus – Oriole Finch (possibly basal to Crithagra)
- Genus Rhynchostruthus – golden-winged grosbeaks (tentatively placed here)
- Genus "Serinus" thibetanus – Tibetan Serin (probably related to Spinus and Serinus sensu stricto)
- Genus Carduelis sensu lato
- (Sub)Genus Carduelis sensu stricto – European Goldfinch, Citril Finch and Corsican Finch (probably only distantly related to Spinus)
- (Sub)Genus Spinus – siskins and American goldfinches
- (Sub)Genus Linaria – linnets and twite (related to Spinus)
- (Sub)Genus Chloris – greenfinches and Desert Finch
- (Sub)Genus Acanthis – redpolls (related to Loxia)
- (Sub)Genus Loxia – crossbills
- Carduelinae incertae sedis
- Groth, Jeffrey G. (2001). "Finches and Allies". In Elphick, Chris; Dunning, John B. Jr.; Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 552–560. ISBN 978-1-4000-4386-6.
- Newton, Ian (1973). Finches. The New Naturalist Library 55. New York: Taplinger. ISBN 0-8008-2720-1.
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