Common chaffinch

Fringilla coelebs

The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), usually known simply as the chaffinch, is a common and widespread small passerine bird in the finch family. The male is brightly coloured with a blue-grey cap and rust-red underparts. The female is much duller in colouring, but both sexes have two contrasting white wing bars and white sides to the tail. The male bird has a strong voice and sings from exposed perches to attract a mate.

The chaffinch breeds in much of Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa. The female builds a nest with a deep cup in the fork of a tree. The clutch is typically four or five eggs, which hatch in about 13 days. The chicks fledge in around 14 days, but are fed by both adults for several weeks after leaving the nest. Outside the breeding season, chaffinches form flocks in open countryside and forage for seeds on the ground. During the breeding season, they forage on trees for invertebrates, especially caterpillars, and feed these to their young. They are partial migrants; birds breeding in warmer regions are sedentary, while those breeding in the colder northern areas of their range winter further south.

The eggs and nestlings of the chaffinch are taken by a variety of mammalian and avian predators. Its large numbers and huge range mean that chaffinches are classed as of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) sitting on a branch The Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) breeds in much of Europe across Asia to Siberia Common chaffinch,Fringilla coelebs,Serbia,animal,aves,avian,background,beautiful,bird,chaffinch,coelebs,common,delight,enjoyment,environment,europe,fauna,finch,forest,friendly

Appearance

The chaffinch is about 14.5 cm (5.7 in) long, with a wingspan of 24.5–28.5 cm (9.6–11.2 in) and a weight of 18–29 g (0.63–1.02 oz). The adult male of the nominate subspecies has a black forehead and a blue-grey crown, nape and upper mantle. The rump is a light olive-green; the lower mantle and scapulars form a brown saddle. The side of head, throat and breast are a dull rust-red merging to a pale creamy-pink on the belly. The central pair of tail feathers are dark grey with a black shaft streak. The rest of the tail is black apart from the two outer feathers on each side which have white wedges. Each wing has a contrasting white panel on the coverts and a buff-white bar on the secondaries and inner primaries. The flight feathers are black with white on the basal portions of the vanes. The secondaries and inner primaries have pale yellow fringes on the outer web whereas the outer primaries have a white outer edge.

After the autumn moult the tips of the new feathers have a buff fringe that adds a brown cast to the coloured plumage. The ends of the feathers wear away over the winter so that by the spring breeding season the underlying brighter colours are displayed. The eyes have dark brown irises and the legs are grey-brown. In winter the bill is a pale grey and slightly darker along the upper ridge or culmen, but in spring the bill becomes bluish-grey with a small black tip.

Male F. c. palmae, La Palma, Canary Islands
The male of the subspecies resident in the British Isles (F. c. gengleri) closely resembles the nominate subspecies but has a slightly darker mantle and underparts. The males of the two North Africa subspecies F. c. africana and F. c. spodiogenys have a blue-grey crown and nape that extends down to the sides of the head and neck, a black forehead and lore, a broken white eye-ring, a bright olive-green saddle and a pink-buff throat and breast. The males of F. c. canariensis and F. c. palmae in the Canary Islands have deep slate-blue upperparts and lack a contrasting mantle. Male chaffinches in Madeira (F. c. maderensis) and the Azores (F. c. moreletti) are similar in appearance to F. c. canariensis but have a bright green mantle.

The adult female is much duller in appearance than the male. The head and most of upperparts are shades of grey-brown. The underparts are paler. The lower back and rump are a dull olive green. The wings and tail are similar to those of the male. The juvenile resembles the female.

The powerful song is well known, and it is possible that the fink or vink sounding call gives the finch family its English name. Males typically sing two or three different song types, and there are regional dialects too.

The acquisition by the young chaffinch of its song was the subject of an influential study by British ethologist William Thorpe. Thorpe determined that if the chaffinch is not exposed to the adult male's song during a certain critical period after hatching, it will never properly learn the song. He also found that in adult chaffinches, castration eliminates song, but injection of testosterone induces such birds to sing even in November, when they are normally silent.
Male Chaffinch It's always a joy to see the native flora and fauna when visiting back home in England. A little male chaffinch - forever alert and busy on the forest floor, one very cold winter's morning. With its patterned plumage, it is well-adapted for camouflage whilst eating on the ground. 14 cm in length. Common chaffinch,Forest,Fringilla coelebs,Fringillidae,Geotagged,Passeriformes,United Kingdom,Winter,bird,common chaffinch,fauna

Naming

The name chaffinch comes from Old English ''ceaffinc'', literally "chaff finch", and is the source of the nickname chaffy or chaffie. The bird is so named for its tendency to peck the grain left out in farmyards, a habit which has also garnered it the names wheatbird and wheatsel-bird or wheatsel bird , the latter used primarily of male chaffinches . The names scobby, cobby, scoppy, and scop refer to this pecking .

The chaffinch's appearance has given rise to the names whitewing, white finch, copper finch, flecky flocker, pied finch, and robinet . The name shellapple or shillapple is from "sheld", a rare word meaning ''variegated'', and "dapple".
This name also appears in the metathetic forms apple-sheeler, its corruption upper shealer, and apple bird. The dialectal names shelly, skelly, sheely, shiltie, shilfer, shilfa, sheelfa, and shulfie are derived from these.

Spink and the less common names pink, pinkie, and pinkety are of the same Proto-Indo-European origin as ''finch'' , and are possibly imitative of the bird's song. This unique call has inspired the names twink, tweet, weet-weet, chink chink, chink chaffey, and pink twink. Popular belief holds that the chaffinch's song foretells rain, leading to the name wetbird.

The chaffinch is also known by the names beech finch, horse finch , buck finch, roberd, boldie, and the reduplicative shellapple shiltie. English naturalist Charles Swainson recorded 36 names for the chaffinch in his ''Provincial Names and Folk Lore of British Birds'' , including brichtie, brisk finch, briskie, bullspink, bully, charbob, daffinch, maze finch, pea finch, pine finch, and snabby.Many subspecies of the Chaffinch have been described, though not all are always concurrently accepted. They include:

Subspecies occurring in continental Eurasia, North Africa and on Mediterranean islands:
⤷ ''F. c. africana'' J. Levaillant, 1850 – north-west Africa, from Morocco to western Tunisia
⤷ ''F. c. alexandrovi'' Zarudny, 1916 – southern Caspian region, from the Talysh to the Alborz Ranges
⤷ ''F. c. balearica'' Von Jordans, 1923 – Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands
⤷ ''F. c. caucasica'' Serebrovski, 1925 – Caucasus
⤷ ''F. c. coelebs'' Linnaeus, 1758 – Eurasia, from western Europe and Asia Minor to Siberia
⤷ ''F. c. gengleri'' O. Kleinschmidt, 1909 – British Isles
⤷ ''F. c. sarda'' Rapine, 1925 – Sardinia
⤷ ''F. c. schiebeli'' Erwin Stresemann, 1925 – Crete
⤷ ''F. c. solomkoi'' Menzbier & Sushkin, 1913 – Crimean Peninsula
⤷ ''F. c. spodiogenys'' Bonaparte, 1841 – eastern Tunisia
⤷ ''F. c. syriaca'' J. M. Harrison, 1945 – Cyprus and the Levant
⤷ ''F. c. transcaspia'' Zarudny, 1916 – Turkmenian – Khorasan ranges
⤷ ''F. c. tyrrhenica'' Schiebel, 1910 – Corsica

Subspecies of the Macaronesian radiation:
⤷ ''F. c. canariensis'' Vieillot, 1817 – central Canary Islands
⤷ ''F. c. maderensis'' Sharpe, 1888 – Madeira
⤷ ''F. c. moreletti'' Pucheran, 1859 – Azores
⤷ ''F. c. ombriosa'' Hartert, 1913 – El Hierro, Canary Islands
⤷ ''F. c. palmae'' Tristram, 1889 – western Canary Islands
female_chaffinch female chaffinch Common chaffinch,France,Fringilla coelebs,Geotagged,Spring

Distribution

This bird is widespread and very familiar throughout Europe. It is the most common finch in western Europe, and the second most common bird in the British Isles. Its range extends into western Asia, northwestern Africa, and Macaronesia, where it has many distinctive island forms. In the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the Chaffinch has colonised twice, giving rise to the endemic species known as the Blue Chaffinch and a distinctive subspecies. In each of the Azores, in Madeira, and in the rest of the Canaries there is a single species on each island.

It was introduced from Britain into a number of its overseas territories in the 18th and 19th centuries. In New Zealand it is a common species. In South Africa a very small breeding colony in the suburbs of Constantia, Hout Bay and Camps Bay near Cape Town is the only remnant of one such introduction.

It uses a range of habitats, but open woodland is favoured, although it is common in gardens and on farmland.
Common-_Chaffinch_portrait Common-_Chaffinch_portrait Common chaffinch,France,Fringilla coelebs,Geotagged,Winter,pessac

Behavior

This bird is not migratory in the milder parts of its range, but vacates the colder regions in winter. The ''coelebs'' part of its name means "bachelor". This species was named by Linnaeus; in his home country of Sweden, where the females depart in winter, but the males often remain. This species forms loose flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with Bramblings. This bird occasionally strays to eastern North America, although some sightings may be escapees.

It builds its nest in a tree fork, and decorates the exterior with moss or lichen to make it less conspicuous. It lays about six eggs, which are greenish-blue with purple speckling.

The main food of the chaffinch is seeds, but unlike most finches, the young are fed extensively on insects, and adults also eat insects in the breeding season.

The powerful song is very well known, and its ''fink'' or ''vink'' sounding call gives the finch family its English name. Males typically sing two or three different song types, and there are regional dialects too

The acquisition by the young chaffinch of its song was the subject of an influential study by British ethologist William Thorpe. Thorpe determined that if the chaffinch is not exposed to the adult male's song during a certain critical period after hatching, it will never properly learn the song. He also found that in adult chaffinches, castration eliminates song, but injection of testosterone induces such birds to sing even in November, when they are normally silent.
The Common chaffinch The Common chaffinch Common chaffinch,Finland,Fringilla coelebs,Geotagged,Spring

Cultural

The Chaffinch is depicted in a marginal decoration of the 15th century English illuminated manuscript the Sherborne Missal.

References:

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyFringillidae
GenusFringilla
SpeciesF. coelebs