Living with Birds 21 Facts on Bullfinch Tweetapedia

Living with Birds 21 Facts on Bullfinch Tweetapedia

21 Facts
21 Facts On Bullfinch I1
21 Facts On Bullfinch I2


  1. Bullfinches have a huge range, extending from Ireland right across northern Europe and Asia to Japan.
  2. The Azores bullfinch is one of the world’s rarest birds, with a population of fewer than 120 pairs restricted to the island of São Miguel.
  3. The name ‘bullfinch’ comes from the bird’s frontheavy, bull-headed appearance.
  4. Bullfinches were once popular cage birds. They can be taught to imitate a special bird flute or whistle.
  5. The short, stubby beak is specially adapted for feeding on buds.
  6. They are particularly enthusiastic eaters of the buds of certain fruit trees. Conference, Dr Jules and Williams pears are particularly popular, along with Morello cherries.
  7. Due to their bud-eating habits, many thousands used to be legally trapped and killed each year in English orchards.
  8. Research has shown that a commercial fruit tree can lose up to half its buds without the harvest being affected - so the culling may well have been unnecessary.
  9. The bullfinch’s call is a soft piping note that carries surprisingly far: you often hear the call but don’t see the caller.
  10. They are specialist seed and bud eaters; they only catch insects during a brief period in the summer when feeding their young.
  11. British birds are highly sedentary, seldom moving more than a few kilometres during their lives.
  12. In contrast, northern populations are migratory, occasionally reaching Britain during the winter.
  13. Northern bullfinches are both bigger and brighter than our native birds; the differences are quite easy to see in the field.
  14. They form strong, lasting pair bonds and it’s usual to see birds in pairs throughout the year.
  15. Females usually show dominance over the males – is the cock bullfinch the original hen-pecked male?
  16. Nests have a double construction, with the twiggy base supporting a cup of interwoven fine grass and dried rootlets.
  17. Most pairs will attempt to raise two broods a year; some manage three.
  18. Though small flocks may form at feeding sites in the winter, studies have shown that birds fly to the site individually or in pairs.
  19. While Continental birds prefer coniferous forests, particularly of spruce, those in Britain are more usually found in areas with broadleaved trees.
  20. The bullfinch is one of our shyest garden birds, which may explain its reluctance to visit feeders.
  21. In addition to the common and Azores bullfinch, there are five other species: brown, Philippine, orange, red-headed and Beavan’s.

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