Living with Birds 21 Facts on Chaffinch Tweetapedia

21 Wildlife Facts on the Chaffinch

June 7th, 2024
2 minute read
Chaffinch, UK
Chaffinch, UK Chaffinch, UK
  1. The Swedish taxonomist Linnaeus noticed the tendency for the all male flocks, giving the bird the Latin name of Fringilla coelebs (coelebs = bachelor).
  2. In winter all-male chaffinch flocks are not unusual, giving rise to another old country name of bachelor bird.
  3. Cecil Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, introduced chaffinches to South Africa in 1898. They can still be found around the Cape today.
  4. During the winter migrants from Scandinavia boost Britain's chaffinch population.
  5. Today the chaffinch is the most widespread and numerous bird in New Zealand.
  6. Chaffinches were first introduced into New Zealand in 1862, initially becoming established in the Canterbury area.
  7. Trapping chaffinches for the cage-bird trade was finally outlawed in 1896.
  8. The chaffinch enjoys a plethora of country names, few of which are used today. Many were derived from the bird's alarm note, hence pink twink, chink chaffey and pinkery.
  9. It was often thought that sightless birds sang best, so some owners deliberately blinded their birds with hot needles.
  10. A good singer was worth a lot of money – as much as 50 shillings, a considerable sum in those days.
  11. Chaffinches have been found to have regional accents, with slight differences in the typical song depending on where in the country the bird lives.
  12. The Victorians used to hold singing matches between cock chaffinches, with the winner the bird considered to have sung the most phrases in a 15-minute period.
  13. A singing cock will utter his song five or six times a minute, and up to 3,000 times a day.
  14. Though the cock's song is a short and simple repetition of notes ending in a flourish, the Victorians greatly valued its ability as a songster, and huge numbers were trapped annually for the cage bird trade.
  15. The one essential for chaffinches to thrive in gardens is plenty of trees, while oaks are their favourites.
  16. This is arguably Britain's most adaptable bird, as it can be found from the parks of central London to the birchwoods of northern Scotland.
  17. Chaffinches were originally woodland birds, but are now just as characteristic of farmland and suburban gardens.
  18. The correct pronunciation of chaffinch is really charf-finch, as this bird takes its name from the chaff that was used in the nosebags of working horses. The chaffinches fed on the spilt chaff.
  19. Female chaffinches tend to migrate farther in winter than males.
  20. Unlike many small passerines, chaffinches usually only have one brood a year, usually rearing four young.
  21. They are one of the longest-lived of our passerines, hence the relatively low reproduction rate.

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