Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)


Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family:    Fringillidae
Size:    Length: 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 cm)  Wingspan: 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 cm)
Weight: ¾ ounces (21 grams)
Diet: Seeds, buds and fruit
Distribution: Europe and Asia
Young:  4 to 5 chicks, two to three times a year
Animal Predators:  Sparrow hawks; jays, magpies, stoats and weasels prey on the young
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Chick
Lifespan: 2 to 4 years



·     The Azores bullfinch, which lives on the island of Sao Miguel, is listed as endangered.

·     A bullfinch separated from his or her mate gives a repeated call that sounds like “fee-uw.”

·     Bullfinches are monogamous and pair for life.

·     Bullfinches are common birds on Christmas cards.



Both males and females are similar, with the main difference being their undersides. Males’ undersides are a rosy red, while those of the females are a softer colour, closer to beige. They both have a black cap and tail and are about the same size as a common sparrow. 



Bullfinches are found right across Europe and Asia, from the British Isles to Japan. They are usually found in forested areas, specifically coniferous or mixed woodlands, parks, groves and gardens. 


Feeding Habits

Bullfinches mainly eat seeds, buds and fruit. When food is scarce, bullfinches may enter orchards and eat a substantial amount of the fruit. 



Breeding season beings in May and extends to mid-July. A young male tries to attract a female by bringing her twigs in early spring. If she accepts him, they mate and become a lifelong pair. The female uses the twigs to build a cup nest, and lines it with soft material such as animal fur and moss. When the nest is ready, the female lays four to five blue eggs with purple speckles. The female sits on the eggs for approximately two weeks, and the male brings her food during that time. He may also sit on the eggs for short periods of time to give the female a break. After the eggs hatch, the parents take turns bringing back food for the babies, who eat a mixture of seeds and insects. Once they become adults, they switch to a vegetarian diet.



Bullfinches live in small family groups, but during mating season, they may form flocks of 50 or more. Bullfinches live and nest in trees and sing often, usually to communicate with their friends.



Although bullfinches are not of conservation concern, their numbers are in decline in various areas, including Great Britain, where they have declined 76 percent since the late 1960s. The main reasons for this decline are habitat loss and shooting by farmers, who consider them pests. In Great Britain, bullfinches are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, but may be killed with a license.








Bullfinch Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US

Harrison, C. and Greensmith, A. (1999). Birds of the World. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited