Finches (Fringillidae)

BIRDS / PERCHING BIRDS /

Finches have stout conical bills adapted for eating seeds and often have colourful plumage. They occupy a great range of habitats where they are usually resident and do not migrate. They have a world-wide distribution except for Australia and the polar regions. There are 3 Sub Families:- Fringillinae, Carduelinae &  Euphoniinae.

 Sub Family Fringillinae

This Sub Family comprises 3 species in a single genus

Genus Fringilla

Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) Resident
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) Female. Copyright Peter Drury

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) Female. Copyright Peter Drury

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 wings-bars and white sides to the tail. The male bird has a strong voice and sings from exposed perches to attract a mate. It prefers open woodland and often forages on the ground. The female builds a nest with a deep cup in the fork of a tree. The clutch is typically 4–5 eggs, which hatch in about 13 days

Where these can be seen: Most often seen in the shrubs between the Hayling Billy Trail and the seashore.

 Sub Family Carduelinae

Cardueline finches are specialised seed eater, and unlike most passerine birds, they feed their young mostly on seeds, which are regurgitated. Carduelines forage in flocks throughout the year, rather than keeping territories, and males defend their females rather than a territory or nest.

Genus Carduelis

This comprises 3 species of which only the Goldfinch is relevant.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Resident
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Copyright Peter Drury

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Copyright Peter Drury

The European goldfinch or goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), is a small passerine bird in the finch family that is native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.

The goldfinch has a red face and a black-and-white head. The back and flanks are buff or chestnut brown. The black wings have a broad yellow bar. The tail is black and the rump is white. The female is very similar to the male but has a slightly smaller red area on the face.

Where these can be seen: Most often seen in the shrubs either side of the Hayling Bill Trail

Genus Chloris

Chloris is a genus which contains the greenfinches. These were formerly grouped in the genus Carduelis. There are 5 species of which only one is applicable.

European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) Resident
Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) Copyright Peter Drury

Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) Copyright Peter Drury

The greenfinch is 15 cm long with a wing span of 24.5 to 27.5 cm. It is similar in size and shape to a house sparrow, but is mainly green, with yellow in the wings and tail. The female and young birds are duller and have brown tones on the back. The bill is thick and conical. The song contains a lot of trilling twitters interspersed with wheezes, and the male has a “butterfly” display flight.

Where these can be seen: Most often seen in the shrubs either side of the Hayling Bill Trail

Genus Linaria

Linaria is a resurrected Genus. This Genus has 3 species Twte and 3 Linnets that formally were under Carduelis. Of  these, the Common Linnetis the only species in our area of interest. I did find a Twite on Farlington Marshes and reported the photographic proof of this very rare sighting in Hampshire.

Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)
Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina) Female Copyright Peter Drury

Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina) Female Copyright Peter Drury

The common linnet is a slim bird with a long tail. The upper parts are brown, the throat is sullied white and the bill is grey. The summer male has a grey nape, red head-patch and red breast. Females and young birds lack the red and have white underparts, the breast streaked buff.

Open land with thick bushes is favoured for breeding, including heathland and garden. It builds its nest in a bush, laying 4-7 eggs.

This species can form large flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with other finches, such as twite, on coasts and salt marshes.

Where these can be seen: Most often seen on the sea shore and the salt marsh

  Finch Gallery