Daily Archives: January 22, 2009

Chaffinch Fact Sheet

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs )
A male chaffinch

Male Chaffinch

Male Chaffinch

FEEDING

Chaffinches eat a variety of seeds and scraps. They eat Peanuts granules and sunflower hearts.

They also eat

fruits
berries
insects
spiders
grain

WINTER AND AUTUMN
 Chaffinch is a seed eater and in the winter and autumn feeds in flocks on farmland

NESTING SEASON
In the nesting season they they forage in trees and bushes, hunting for spiders, caerpillars, flies and other inverterbrates. Chaffinches also have the ability to feed on flying insects by snatching them from the sky.

Chaffinches feed on birdtables and garden feeders all year round.

DESCRIPTION:
The chaffinch can be identified by it’s short , thick bill and white wing marking bars.

Males in spring, are very colourful. They have blue grey crowns, nape and bill, olive green rump, and pink underparts

Females are plain but they do have white wingbars. Upperparts are olive borwn. underparts pale greyish.
Adult chaffinches moult in early Autumn and from then on, through the winter they are a paler colour.

When Spring comes round again the male’s pink face and body and blue grey crown returns – its’ breeding plumage.

In flight the chaffinch closes its wings completely (this is inbetween flapping it’s wings). When the chaffinch closes its wings completely it rises and falls in the air . It is that undulating flight that help identify the chaffinch in flight.

HABITAT:
The chaffinch can be found nearly everwhere where are are trees. It is a woodland bird but also lives in gardens and parks.

SIZE OF BIRD:

Length 14.5 cm (6 inches)
Wing span 24.5-28.5cm (10-11 1/2 inches).
Weight 18-29g. ( 3/4 – 1 0z)
EGGS: pale blue with pink and brownish speckling.

INCUBATION: 11-13 days. The female chaffince is responsible for the incubation.

BREEDING: April to July. Usually only have one brood.

FLEDGING: 12-14 days.

NEST: the nest is a lichen and cobweb covered nest. It is made of grass and moss. Usually made in a fork in a tree and is lined with feathers and rootlets.

It is the female that decorates the outer part of the nest with lichens and spiders webs. She is also solely in charge of building the nest.

When the famila Chaffinch begins to nest build she ties parts of spiders web around twigs. Moss and grass is then added. She then puts more nesting material into finish the nest.

(I would love to see a chaffinch decorating her home with litchen and spiders webs. It sounds like something out of a story book)

NEXT BOXES:
Many garden birds like to nest in trees. The chaffinch is one of them. Putting up nest boxes encourages breeding and helps many birds. I do not have any information about nest box sizes for chaffinches. They usually nest in orchards, hedgerows, gardens and trees.

SONG:

Alarm call is ‘pink, pink’.
The song sounds like ‘chip, chip, chip, chooee, chooee, cheeoo.
The male chaffinch sings all the time during the breeding season. Sings a small number of song phrases. They are usually sung in the same order.
Chaffinches in different parts of England have different ‘dialect’ songs . We may not be able to tell the different. The difference in their song means they only attract chaffinches with the same song who are from the same local area. There may be a survival reason here. If two chaffinches from the same area breed they will know the area and a local female will be more likely to breed in an environment she knows. A strange chaffinch would have to take time to get to know the area and where the food was. This seems logical anyway.

DISTRIBUTION:
Almost the whole of Europe. Males do not move as far as the females in winter. Males stay near their breeding grounds.

Males and females often separate in winter.

MY CHAFFINCH NOTES

So the chaffinches that visit our gardens are more than likely to have made the area their home.

I sometimes wonder how many generations of birds I’ve fed over the past ten to 15 years.

Chaffinches often visit my garden and feeders. I take them a bit for granted. (Maybe they take me for granted as well! Or take the food I put out for granted)

I’ll keep on feeding the birds. It’s good to see the sparrows, chaffinches and blackbirds mingling on the lawn.

Feed the Birds!!

If  you have any more ‘chaffinch information’ I’d love to know.

TAKE A LOOK AT MY SHORT CHAFFINCH VIDEO

Trisha