Sometimes a bird species has a name that raises your eyebrows and seems to have nothing to do with the actual appearance of the bird. But other times, a species’ name, or nickname, is perfect. Just like of this Bullfinch – it’s most certainly bulky and fluffy.
Eurasian Bullfinch is a bulky bull-headed bird. The Male has a grey mantle. Rump is white, contrasting with a blackish tail. Wings are blackish with only one pale wing bar. Underparts are pink-red, with white vent.
Meet the Eurasian Bullfinch, a round little bird with a vibrant peach chest.
Academic descriptions of this bird refer to it as a “redbreast”, “pink-red”, or “rosy breast, but clearly, there is no need to use all those words, when this stunning bird is peach-colored.
Anyway, these cuties are common throughout Europe and Asia, with habitat stretching all the way from the British Isles to Japan.
VOICE: SOUNDS BY XENO-CANTO
European Bullfinch’s usual call is a quiet, low, melancholy whistled “peeu” or “pew”.
The song is audible only at close range. It is a weak, scratchy warbling, alternating with soft whistles.
European Bullfinch lives in woodlands, coniferous and deciduous, with dense undergrowth and in cultivated areas. It is also found in orchards, parks, and gardens.
European Bullfinch is found from Europe to Asia and Japan. This species breeds across Europe and temperate Asia.
It is sedentary and resident, but northern birds migrate southwards in winter. They move short or medium distances.
European Bullfinch is a shy and quiet bird. It is often seen flying from bush to bush. It is fond of buds in winter and spring and causes important damages in orchards.
Though the males are brightly colored, the females are a more of a soft, pinkish beige.
It is often seen in pairs or in small family groups. They perch mainly within the tree cover, rarely on the ground. In spring, they may form flocks of about 50 birds.
European Bullfinch feeds mainly on buds in spring. It lands on the tip of the branch where the buds are, and then, it moves slowly towards the trunk. They feed on buds when they lack seeds.
During nesting season, European Bullfinch brings food to the chicks, in special pouches situated at the base of the bill, on each side of the tongue. Most of the other Fringillidae carry food in their throat.
During courtship displays, male enhances the beautiful color of its breast, with dropped wings in order to expose its white rump, while is waddling around the female. The display may start with a feigned attack from female to male, and pair is formed after this behavior. There is no aggressivity between them.
These are the only members of the finch family that have specialized “food sacs.”
Male walks sideways to female, with bill pointed at her and tail slightly sideward until it touches the female’s bill. Then, it hops on the side and displays it again, and both mates do it again together. They utter soft whistles during this courtship. Then, the male regurgitates seeds into the female’s bill. She fluffs its feathers, bowing and turning from side to side.
When the female builds the nest, the male brings her twigs and rootlets.
Any behavior of defense or territoriality has been observed. They nest solitary and silent.
Female lays 4 to 6 pale blue eggs, mottled with red-brown. Incubation lasts about 12 to 14 days, by female helped and fed by the male. Chicks are fed with a mixture of insects and seeds, brought at the nest by the male. Later, both parents collect food for the young.
Young fledge at about 16 to 18 days.
This species produces two or three broods per season, from early May to mid-July.
European Bullfinch performs a swift bounding flight, with rapid wing beats, alternating with brief period of closed wings. When flying long distances, it has an undulating direct flight. It calls while it is flying.
European Bullfinch’s nest is built on a tree branch, or in a bush or thicket. The nest is located at about 1, 20 à 2 meters above the ground. It is a loose structure built by female, made with moss, twigs, and lichens, and lined with hair, moss, and roots.
European Bullfinch feeds mainly on seeds and buds of fruit trees. They also consume insects and berries.
PROTECTION / THREATS:
European Bullfinch is declining since recent times. Destruction of habitat with reduction of woodland edges and hedgerows may be responsible of this decline. It has removed nesting places and food resources.
The increased use of herbicides has impacted on Bullfinches.
Until 1996, they were often trapped as pests in orchards and farmlands. Now, it is only permitted under the licence.
European Bullfinch has predators, such as Corvids and weasels.
L’ENCYCLOPEDIE MONDIALE DES OISEAUX – Dr. Christopher M. Perrins – BORDAS – ISBN: 2040185607
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BRITISH BIRDS – Written by “Royal Society for the Protection of Birds” experts – Préface de Magnus Magnusson – Michael Cady- Rob Hume Editors – ISBN: 0749509112
THE HANDBOOK OF BIRD IDENTIFICATION FOR EUROPE AND THE WESTERN PALEARCTIC by Mark Beaman, Steve Madge – C.Helm – ISBN: 0713639601