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Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

These colourful birds are our most common finch species.

Scientific name: Fringilla coelebs

Family: Fringillidae (finches)

Appearance

Head: males have a grey crown with orange-pink cheeks whereas females are duller and brown in colouration. The bill is characteristic of a finch and is of a medium length. 

Wings: the dominant colour of the wings is black but there is a white pattern on both the male and female’s wings which is a characteristic feature of this species. 

Body: the male displays an orange-pink breast with an orange-brown back. The female has a duller brown plumage. 

Where to spot

Found across the UK throughout the year, including in gardens, woodland, hedgerows and farmland.

Feeding

The chaffinch can often be seen at garden feeding stations. It feeds on a variety of seeds as well as invertebrates once the season allows.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from April to June, with a clutch of four to five eggs laid. Chaffinch nests are classically round in shape, and delicately constructed with spiders’ webs, moss and grass, then lined with feathers. Nests can be found in trees, hedges and bushes. Chicks will fledge from around 13 days old.

Facts

  • The chaffinch often forms part of mixed flocks with other bird species during the non-breeding period.
  • As a ground feeder this bird may often be seen hopping underneath hanging bird feeders to take seed which has fallen out.
  • Its song is a recognisable pattern of descending notes.
  • There are over five million pairs of Chaffinches in the UK.