Gallery - Finches
Finches are small birds with forked or notched tails, moderately pointed wings, rounded or elongated bodies and round heads.
The bill shape varies according to the principal type of food, from short and rounded to rather long and sharp.
Some species are agile and feed while perching on, or hanging from, plants, while others are essentially ground feeders, but most also take insects from foliage in the breeding season. They have distinctive flight calls and simple, but sometimes musical, songs.
Here is a BTO video about 4 "Greenfinches" and how to tell them apart
Fringilla Finches (Fringilla)
A summer migrant to northern birch forests and other woodland and a winter migrant to farmland where we see it in England.
Here is a great BTO video on the differences between Chaffinch and Brambling
A familiar bird of woodland and other areas with trees. The Chaffinch eats seeds and insects. It builds a neat nest of moss and lichen among branches or against a tree trunk.
Only single pairs have been suspected of breeding in recent years, however numbers of birds arriving in spring has increased. Nests in gardens, parks, orchards and churchyards where there is plenty of cover. It is likely to turn up in suburban areas as in rural locations.
Redpolls and Linnets (Acanthis)
Gregarious small brown finches with stubby seed-eating bills, red or pink patches in plumage, a markedly dancing flight.
The Lesser Redpoll is an Amber list Species- Medium Conservation concern.
Pedpolls eat seeds, especially birch and insects.
Otherwise known as "Mealy Redpoll". In Britain it is a migrant that is often first seen in coastal areas before it moves inland in its search for food. It frequently visits areas with Birch, Alder and Spruce trees. In Scandinavia it breeds in inland Spruce forests.
The Linnet is classed as a Red List Species-High Conservation Concern.
The Linnet likes open countryside, farmland and lowland heath.it feeds almost exclusively on seeds of weeds and other plants.Groups of linnets often nest in close proximity. The nest of twigs,roots and moss is built in dense cover.
The Twite breeds in rather barren, bleak habitats including moorland and tundra. In winter it gathers in flocks and moves south to arable land and coastal areas, especially salt marshes where it feeds along the tidal line. It eats mainly small seeds.
Cardueline Finches (Carduelis)
Three related but very different specialised finches with yellow wing mirrors, the two smaller with acrobatic feeding technique.
A small finch of conifer forests, in autumn it migrates and flocks of Siskins are more widespread, feeding on birch and alder seeds. Numbers vary considerably from year to year. The nest is small, compact and built out on a branch.
This beautiful small finch has a longer and more pointed bill than the Greenfinch which it uses it to extract seeds from food plants such as thistles. The neat deep nest is built towards the end of a branch.
The Greenfinchs large bill allows it to open seeds of various sizes including peanuts hung up in gardens. It breeds in loose colonies in woodland, parks and large gardens.A bulky nest is built in a thick shrub.
Big Finches with heavy duty bills!
The Bullfinch is classed as a Red list Species-High Conservation Concern.
This attractive species is unpopular with gardeners and fruit growers becouse it eats fruits and seeds,young Bullfinches feed on insects.They nest in woods,thickets and hedges which is made of small twigs.
A very distinctive but secretive finch, which has a huge bill for opening large seeds including kernels of small fruits such as cherries. It also eats buds, shoots and insects, especially caterpillars. It lives in mixed or deciduous woodland and is particulary fond of Hornbeam
Medium sized to rather large, stout billed seed eaters, the males mainly red or pink, females brownish and streaked.
In Britian generally a passage migrant that arrives in coastal areas and may be seen in low scrub or small trees.
Large Finches, unique among birds for the cross mandibles with which using a distinctive criss-cross motion of the head, they dexterously extract seeds from pine, spruce, fir or larch cones, their almost exclusive diet. Periodically erupting westwards to Atlantic fringes
Crossbills live in conifer forests.The bill is uniquely adapted for removing seeds from cones.Nesting is linked to the cone crop and egg laying may take place even in winter. The nest is built high in the conefer.
The Crossbills that are resident in the remnants of the Caleodonian Forest of Northan Scotland eat seeds from the tough Scots pine cones. They have heavier, stronger bills than the Crossbill and are now classed as a seperate species.
First proved to be breeding in Norfolk in 1984. Since then up to 50 pairs have been found nesting in Scotland in some years.Found in pine and spruce forests, and in Britian also in the remains of the ancient Calidonian forest of the Scotish Highlands.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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