Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae
BTO Codes: CH, CHAFF EURING No: 16360
Number in Britain: 5.8 million Territories (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: gengleri (R), coelebs (W) recorded in Britain (of 18 subsp. in the world)
Length: 14 cm Wingspan: 26 cm Weight: M/F: 24 g    
Scientific name from: L.: fringilla from Gr.: phrugilos=a sparrow described by Aristophanes and L.: caelebs=unmarried
World Distribution: BREEDS: Europe, n Africa, nw Asia, WINTERS: south to s Asia, INTRODUCED: South Africa, New Zealand
Habitat: Forest, woodland, farmland
Diet: Summer, invertebrates, otherwise mostly seeds, widest diet of the finches
TitBit: The Latin name of this bird, coelebs, deriving from the Latin from bachelor, was given by Linnaeus, who saw only male chaffinches in his native Sweden, females from its northern breeding grounds winter further south.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 5.8 million Territories in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: gengleri AMBER (Important Population), coelebs GREEN
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Coniferous Wood
    Also common in: Scrub, Arable Farmland, Pasture Farmland, Villages, Deciduous Wood
    And found in: Towns
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 80 to 160 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(III), WBD(I*), Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from Garden BirdWatch
Results from the Winter Farmland Bird Survey

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 19 x 15 mm Egg Weight: 2.2 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 462
Clutch Size: 4 - 5 eggs 4.27 ± 0.78 (2 - 8) N = 3103
Incubation: 12- 13 days 12.28 ± 1.69 (9 - 15.5) N = 3103   by the: Female
Fledging: 13 - 16days 14.12 ± 2.00 (10 - 17) N = 4437 as: Altricial, downy
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Nest Record Scheme data
First Clutches Laid: 30 Apr (12 Apr - 30 May)
Number of Broods: 1
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.589 ± 0.011    (M:0.551 ± 0.042; F:0.506 ± 0.046)      
Juvenile Survival: 0.531 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 3 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 12 years 0 months 12 days (set in 2011)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: A
Wing Length Adult: 85.0 ± 3.8 Range 79 - 91 mm, N =86590
Juvenile: 83.9 ± 3.4 79 - 89 mm, N =38754
Male: 87.6 ± 2.8 83 - 92 mm, N =46586
Female: 82.1 ± 2.4 78 - 86 mm, N =39832
Weight Adult: 21.81 ± 3.65 Range 19.00 - 25.20 g , N =69727
Juvenile: 21.47 ± 3.05 18.70 - 24.50 g , N =31248
Male: 22.60 ± 2.61 20.00 - 25.80 g , N =37080
Female: 20.90 ± 4.38 18.50 - 23.70 g , N =32509
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Gaelic: Breacan-beithe Welsh: Ji-binc
Danish: Bogfinke Dutch: Vink
Finnish: Peippo French: Pinson des arbres
German: Buchfink Hungarian: Erdei pinty
Icelandic: Bókfinka Irish: Rí Rua
Italian: Fringuello Norwegian: Bokfink
Polish: Zieba Portuguese: Tentilhăo-comum
Spanish: Pinzón común Swedish: Bofink
Local Names: Pink

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Newton, I. 1972 The finches Collins, London [598.982 NEW]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides