A very common woodland finch which has spread into gardens and farmland. Probably Britain and Ireland's second commonest bird (after the Wren) with a population estimate of 7.5 million pairs. Breeds through most of Europe with birds from the North migratory - sexes move different distance hence Latin name (coelebs means bachelor and the winter flocks in Sweden are mainly males).
Both sexes have white wing flashes but the female is dull grey and green compared with the very smart males. He has a grey head and blue-grey back with pink or brick-red underparts. Flocking in winter (likes beech trees when they fruit) but breeds in defended territories. Song phrase very characteristic lasting 2-3 seconds and has dialects over the whole of the range.
A typical medium-sized finch with medium-sized bill.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Chaffinch (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 145 mm Closed wing 87 mm Weight 23 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead