The chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) is a small passerine bird that belongs to the finch family. It is one of the most common and widespread birds in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and has also been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. The chaffinch is easily recognized by its colorful plumage, especially the male, which has a reddish-pink face, breast, and belly, a blue-grey crown and nape, a chestnut brown back, and white and yellow markings on the wings and tail. The female is duller, with brownish-green and grey-white tones. The chaffinch has a repertoire of six different songs, which it sings from the treetops during the breeding season. It also has a distinctive ‘pink’ call, which it uses to keep in contact with other chaffinches.
The chaffinch inhabits a variety of habitats, including gardens, woodland, parks, and farmland. It feeds mainly on seeds and insects, and will often visit bird feeders and bird tables. However, it prefers to forage on the ground and under hedges, rather than on hanging feeders. The chaffinch is a social bird, and forms flocks outside the breeding season. It is also a partial migrant, with some populations moving south or to lower altitudes in winter, while others remain resident.
The chaffinch breeds from March to July, and builds a neat, bowl-shaped nest in a tree or shrub. The nest is made of grass, moss, lichen, and spider webs, and lined with feathers and hair. The female lays four to six eggs, which are pale blue with purple or brown spots. She incubates the eggs for about two weeks, while the male feeds her and defends the territory. The chicks hatch naked and blind, and are fed by both parents. They fledge after about two weeks, and become independent after another two weeks.
The chaffinch is not threatened, and has a large and stable population. However, it may face some threats from habitat loss, predation, disease, and competition from other birds. The chaffinch is also susceptible to a parasitic infection called trichomonosis, which causes lesions in the throat and mouth, and can be fatal. The infection can be spread by contaminated food and water sources, so it is important to keep bird feeders and bird baths clean and hygienic.
The chaffinch is a beautiful and cheerful bird that can brighten up any garden or park with its colors and songs. It is a joy to watch and listen to, and a valuable member of the wildlife community. If you want to attract chaffinches to your garden, you can provide them with seeds, nuts, and fruits, as well as fresh water and shelter. You can also plant native trees and shrubs that offer food and nesting sites for them. By doing so, you can help to conserve this amazing bird and enjoy its presence all year round.