Quick facts

Common name: greenfinch

Scientific name: Chloris chloris

Family: Fringillidae

Habitat: woodland, farmland, parks and gardens

Diet: seeds, berries and invertebrates

Predators: sparrowhawks; chicks and eggs vulnerable to range of predators

Origin: native

What do greenfinches look like?

Greenfinches have a stout, chunky bill for crushing seeds. Males have a grey-green head and greenish body, while females are a duller brown across both their upper and lower parts. The tails and large primary wing feathers of males and females are edged in yellow, giving a distinctive bright streak to their plumage.

With a typical weight of around 28g, the greenfinch is larger than a robin but smaller than a blackbird.

Credit: Mike Wilkes / naturepl.com

What do greenfinches eat?

Greenfinches are regular visitors to bird tables and feeders, particularly when seeds and grains become scarce in the wider countryside. Like most seed-eating birds, they feed their young on protein-rich invertebrates in the first few days after hatching, before providing regurgitated seeds from then on. The adults also eat berries, fruits and buds.

Did you know?

Although most greenfinches only live for about two years, the record for a wild individual stands at 11 years and three months.

How do greenfinches breed?

The greenfinch breeding season typically begins in March, with the males flaunting their yellow feathers in loud display flights. Two broods are produced over the course of the summer, in cup-shaped nests formed from grasses, twigs and moss. These are often constructed in dense vegetation, either alone or in small colonies.

The female produces four to six eggs per brood, which hatch after around 14 days. Fledging occurs just over two weeks later.

Where do greenfinches live?

Widespread in the UK, greenfinches can be found in both rural and urban habitats. They are a common sight in parks and gardens, but also woodland and farmland. During winter, greenfinches will regularly form flocks with other finches such as goldfinch and siskin as they search for food.

Credit: John Bridges / WTML

Signs and spotting tips

Greenfinches love seeds, so putting out a range of these on bird feeders or tables can be a great way to attract them to your garden. Look out for the flash of yellow feathers as they flit about, or tune your ears in to their characteristic wheezing calls.

Greenfinch song

Audio: Stuart Fisher / xeno-canto.org

Did you know?

The vibrant green plumage of male greenfinches is duller outside of the breeding season.

Threats and conservation

Greenfinch populations have fluctuated greatly over the last few decades, but are now almost 70% lower than they were in 1967. Recently, the species has suffered from an outbreak of trichomonosis – a parasite-induced disease that makes it difficult for the birds to feed. As it is transmitted via close contact between birds, you can help reduce the spread of this disease by cleaning your feeders regularly.