Monday, September 10, 2012

Common Chaffinch

Fringilla coelebs (male)
The Common Chaffinch is a bird with a very large distribution. They can be found throughout Europe, large patches of western Asia, and north Africa and the Middle East. They have also been introduced to Australia and New Zealand, and are occasionally found in southeast Asia and even in the United States. There are many different location-based subspecies.

The males of the species are easy to identify-- they have white barred wings, a red chest, and a bright blue cap. Females are less colorful, and sport hints of green. Their name comes from "Chaff Finch," because they are fond of pecking out different grains to eat.

Most of the Common Chaffinches live in resident populations. Only those that live in colder regions will migrate to warmer climates during the winter. Migrating flocks can sometimes become quite large, though most of the time the birds live in very small groups or in pairs.

Breeding time brings about courtships displays from the males. After mating, the males leaves and the female nests in a tree fork. She will lay up to four eggs which take only two weeks to incubate and another two weeks for the chicks to fledge. Interestingly, the young Chaffinches are fed insects rather than seeds, though seeds will be their primary food source as adults.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, parts of Africa and Asia
Size :  Length up to 6in (16cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Fringillidae -- Genus : Fringilla -- Species : F. coelebs

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