Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch

The male bullfinch is a truly handsome bird but instead of strutting proudly about and showing off his looks, he is very shy and prefers to hide in thick foliage, only recognisable by his white rump! 

Experts believe that, unlike most other small birds, bullfinches mate for life. They certainly stay together throughout the winter, when the female, whose colours are duller and browner than the male’s, can usually be seen flying a little way behind her partner. 

Bullfinches have made themselves unpopular with fruit growers in Britain! When natural food is scarce in late winter/early spring, they use the sharp cutting edges of their short, rounded bills, to devour the buds on fruit trees, thus ruining the crop. 

Description: The male has a black cap and chin, grey back and white rump with striking, rose-pink underparts. The female is much drabber than the male. They grow to around 22-26cm (9-10 in) long and their cry is a soft and mournful whistle. 

Nesting and breeding: In spring, the male bullfinch will seek out a suitable, well-hidden site -- in thick hedge or bramble -- for the female to build her nest of twigs and moss. Between April and July, she will have two or sometimes three, broods of 4-5 eggs  These are green/blue, streaked with purple and hatch after 12-14 days.

Where to see them

  • Mainly to be seen in woodlands, orchards and hedgerows.
  • Unfortunately, the loss of orchards over the last few decades has led to a big decline in bullfinch numbers in Britain and they are now officially endangered.
  • Bullfinches will come into gardens and take seeds from bird tables..  
  • What they eat

  • Bullfinches are mainly vegetarian, although they feed caterpilars to their fledglings.  
  • They eat tree seeds, berries, weeds and the buds of fruit trees.
  • Recommended Farbrook Farm foods: sunflower hearts, premium wild bird food, sunflower seeds.
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