Finches

June 11, 2014

 Finches are seed-eating songbirds of the family Fringillidae. Most finches are native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are small birds with forked or notched tales and moderately pointed wings. The bill shape varies according to principal type of food and could be rounded or sharp and long. The basic plumage of the finches are brownish sometimes greenish and may have lots of black.

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They are typical inhabitants of well-wooded areas but some can be found in deserts and mountains. They are primarily grain eaters and but can include a small amount of arthropods in their diets. They build their nests in trees and rarely in between bushes and rocks.

Finch types fall into four major categories: fringillidae, estrildidae, ploceidae and passeridae. The ploceidae has the most species with more than 156 varieties. Caged and aviary finches which are popular and common belong to the fringillidae are known as “true finches”.  Here are some of the most popular species of Finches:

Brambling – gregarious in winter and may form flocks of many thousands. They have a black head and orange breast with white belly and can be found in beach woodlands, farmland fields and near woods. They consume seeds in winter and insects in summer.

Bullfinch – bright pinkish-red breast, grey back and bright white rump. They feed mostly on seeds and insects for the young and can be found in orchards, hedgerows and woodlands.

Chaffinch – colourful bird with patterned plumage. They have loud songs and varied calls and they eat insects and seeds.

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Crossbill – large head and bill, brick-red plumage for the adult male and greenish brown for the female. They eat the seeds of conifers.

Goldfinch – highly colored and sociable finches with red face and yellow wing patch. They are found in bushes and trees, orchards, parks and gardens.

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Greenfinch – known for their twittering and wheezing song. They are quite sociable finches with green and yellow plumage that prefers to consume black sunflower seeds. It is a regular garden visitor and is a common sight in woods, hedges, village gardens and orchards.

Hawfinch – robust passerine bird with thick necks, large round heads and a wide conical beak. They have light brown plumage and a black head with orange hue. They eat seeds, buds and shoots.

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Lesser redpoll – small short-tailed finch with conical bills. Adult males are largely brown with darker streaks and white belly and undertail. They consume seeds particularly from birch and alder as well as willow herb and sorrel. They are also known to visit bird feeders.

Linnet – slim birds with long tails, brown upperparts, grey bills and the throat is sullied white. They are distributed in Europe, western Asia and north Africa. They eat insects and seeds.

Parrot crossbill – large powerful finches that breed in the pine forests of northwest Europe and western Russia. They feed on conifer seeds mainly pine and some insects during breeding.

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Scarlet rosefinch – sparrow sized birds that breed mostly in northern Asia and parts of eastern and central Europe. They consume seeds, buds and small invertebrates.

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