Fringilla coelebsChaffinch

Although the chaffinch is still one of the most common birds in Britain, its numbers have, nevertheless, been declining in recent years, probably as a result of disappearing hedgerows. It used to be mainly a woodland bird but is now widely seen in gardens and parks – indeed, anywhere where there are tall trees, which provide a prominent position from which the male can deliver his loud and cheerful spring song, to mark out his territory and attract a mate. 

When natural food is in short supply, chaffinches come into gardens to forage on the ground, picking up the overspill under bird tables. They have also learned how to use hanging bird feeders. 

Description: The male chaffinch is one of the most colourful birds of the finch family. He has a blue/grey head and neck, pinkish breast and cheeks, a chestnut back and white splashes on wings, tail and shoulders. The female is not as bright – yellow/brown above and paler below, with white on wings and side of tail. The chaffinch grows to 15cm (6 in) and has a distinctive song, which ends in an emphatic flourish. Not all chaffinches sing with the same accent! Different regional dialects have been noted, especially amongst chaffinches wintering here from the continent. 

Nesting and breeding: Both male and female chaffinches help to build a cup-shaped nest in a hedge, bush or tree fork. The nest is made of moss and lichen, lined with feathers, hair and wool and held together with spider’s web. Between April and early June, the female has one, or sometimes two, broods, each of 3-6 eggs, which are light blue with purple blotches and hatch after 12-14 days.

Where to see them

  • In hedgerows, gardens, parks and farmland.  
  • Perched at the top of tall trees, singing loudly and cheerfully, from February onwards  
  • What they eat

  • In autumn and winter, chaffinches mainly eat seeds that have fallen to the ground..  
  • In Spring/early summer, they forage in trees and bushes for spiders, caterpillars and flies.
  • They can catch flying insects in the air -- like the spotted flycatcher.
  • Recommended.Farbrook Farm foods: Premium Wild Bird Food, Insect Suet Pellets, Sunflower Hearts
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