Fringillid FINCHes of Europe

Order Passeriformes   Family Fringillidae

The true finches of family Fringillid are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. They vary from 9-23 cm. They typically have strong, stubby beaks, which in some species can be quite large. Finches are usually are inhabitants of well-wooded areas, but some can be found on mountains or even in deserts. True finches have a bouncing flight like most small passerines, alternating bouts of flapping with gliding on closed wings. The nests are basket-shaped and usually built in trees.



Genus Acanthis
All redpolls are northern breeding woodland species, associated with birch trees. They are small birds, brown or grey-brown above and with a red forehead patch. The adult male's breast is washed in red, but in females and young birds the buff breast and white belly are streaked with brown. The bill is small and yellow. Some birds, particularly young ones, are difficult to assign to species.

Redpoll, Common  Acanthis flammea  Found: Northern parts of North America, Europe, Asia
The Common Redpoll has brown and white plumage; brown steaks on sides; 1 bold white wing-bar 1 fainr wing-bar; red patch on forehead; yellow bill; black patch around bill.
Similar to: Hoary Redpoll. Hoary Redpolls are lighter on the average than are Common Redpoles. This is especially true for a front view.
Image by:  1) D. Gordon E. Robertson - Ottawa, Ontario  2) Eugene Beckes  3, 7, 8) Estormiz - Finland   4)  Peter de Wit - Ontario   5) Bill Bouton -  Michigan  6) Cephas - Quebec, Canada  
1) Female  5) Male


Redpoll, Hoary also Artic Redpoll  Acanthis hornemanni  Found: Northern parts of North America, Europe, Asia
The Hoary Redpoll has brown and white plumage; pale steaks on flanks; 1 white wing; red forehead; black chin.
Similar to: Common Redpoll. Hoary Redpolls lighter on the average than are Common Redpoles. This is especially true for a front view.
Image by: 1) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow region   2, 3) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland   4) dFaulder   5)  Seabrook Lechie - Ontario 
5) Comparison of female Hoary Redpoll (front) and Common Redpoll (rear). Both are first year.



Redpoll, Lesser  Acanthis cabaret  Found: Europe, New Zealand (Introduced)
The male Lesser Redpoll has brown upperparts with darker streaks; red forehead; black chin; buff flanks with dark streaks; whitish belly, under-tail coverts. Female similar but lacks pink on breast and flanks, and has less streaking on flanks.
Image by: 1, 3, 4) MPF - England    2) Mark Medcalf - Scotland



Genus Bucanetes

Finch, Trumpeter  Bucanetes githagineus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The breeding male Trumpeter Finch has pale brown upperparts; gray head, neck; red bill; pick breast, rump, tail. Female and nonbreeding male are washed out verstion of breeding male.
Image by: 1) Frank Vassen - Spain  2) Juan Emilo  3) Rachid H



Genus Carduelis
Closely related to genus Serinus. See genus Spinus for New World Goldfinches and Siskins.

Finch, Citril
  Carduelis citrinella  Found: Europe
The Corsican Finch was formerly considered subspecies of Citril Finch. It has dark-streaked brown upperparts, and brighter yellow underparts than the Citril Finch.
Image by: 1) Antonio Arnaiz-Villena  2) Sandra - France  3) Peter Steward


Finch, Corsican  Carduelis corsicana  Found: Corsica, Sardinia, some Italian islands
The Corsican Finch was formerly considered subspecies of Citril Finch. It has dark-streaked brown upperparts, and brighter yellow underparts than the Citril Finch.
Image by: 1) Antonio Arnaiz-Villena  2) Dave Appleton


Goldfinch, EuropeanCarduelis carduelis Found: North America (some escapees), Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand (introduced)
The European Goldfinch has brown upperparts; black and yellow wings; red face; black and-white head; white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches; ivory bill; forked tail.  The male has a larger and darker red mask that extends just behind the eye.
Image by:1, 4) Marek Szczepanek - Germany  2) ArminM - Germany  3) Lukasz Lukasik - Poland   5)  Cristiano Crolle - Arese. Italy  6) Dick Daniels - New Zealand   
1) Juvenile



Linnet, Eurasian also Linnet  Carduelis cannabina Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Eurasian Linnet has brown upperparts; gray bill. Breeding male has gray nape; red head patch; red breast. Female has buff streaked underparts.
Similar to: Twite. Linnet has red head patch and breast; Twite brown.
Image by: 1) Zambog - Scotland  2)  Edwyn Anderton 3) andy li - Xinjiang, China  4) Joe Pell - England  5) Cristiano Crolle - Texel, Holland
1) Female  2, 3, 4, 5) Male


Twite  Carduelis flavirostris also Linaria flavirostris Found: Europe, Asia
The Twite has brown streaked with black upperparts; pink rump; white to buff upperparts with streaking on breast. Yellow (winter) or gray (summer) bill. Name comes from its call: twit.
Similar to: European Linnet. Linnet has red head patch and breast; Twite brown.
Image by: 1) MPF - Northumberland, UK   2) Frank Vasset - Netherlands  3) Mike Pennington



Genus Carpodacus

Rosefinch, Common  Carpodacus erythrinus  Found: Europe, Asia
The male Common Redpoll has a rosy-carmine head, breast, rump; dark brown wings with 2 indistinct wing-bars; off-white underparts. Female and juvenile are dull colored with yellowish-brown upperparts; brighter rump; grayer head; buff underparts.
Image by: 1)  Adam Kumiszcza - Poland   2, 3) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow region



Genus Chloris
Previously in genus Carduelis

Greenfinch, European Chloris chloris Found: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia (introduced), New Zealand (introduced)
The European Greenfinch has mainly green plumage with yellow on the wings  and tail; thick bill. Females are duller with brown tones on the back.
Image by: 1, 3) Andreas Trepte   2) Marek Szczepanek  4) Cristiano Crolle - Arese, Italy



Genus Fringilla

Chaffinch, Common also Chffinch  Fringilla coelebs   Found: Europe, Africa, New Zealand (introduced)
The Common Chaffinch has generally buff plumage; dark wings; white shoulder patch; a broad white wing-bar; gray-green rump; . Breeding male has blue-gray crown, nape; reddish underparts; gray bill. Female and nonbreeding male are drabber; dull pinkish bill.
Similar to: Brambling.  Male Chaffinch has blue-gray crown; male Brambling has black head. Chaffinch has white shoulder patch and white wing-bar.
Image by:    1) freebird4   2) Dick - New Zealand    3, 4) Dick Daniels - Scotland  5) Cristiano Crolle - Arese. Italy
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male


Brambling Fringilla montifringilla    Found: North America (infrequent), Europe, Asia, Africa
The Brambling has orange breast; white belly; dark spotted flank; white rump. Breeding male has dark upperparts; black head, bill. Females and nonbreeding males have yellow bill.
Similar to: Chaffinch. Male Chaffinch has blue-gray crown; male Brambling has black head. Chaffinch has white shoulder patch and white wing-bar.
Similar to: Evening Grosbeak. Male Brambling has orange front of neck; male Evening Grosbeak has black neck front. Male Evening Grosbeak has white wing; male brambling doesn't.
Image by: 1 ) Marcin Moga - Poland  2) Frans Schouwenburg - Rotterdam  3) Maris Pukitis - Latvia  4) Byerly - Asia   5) Chris Cant   6) Angie & Chris Pye  7) Marek Szczepanek  8) Rene Jakobson   9) Cristiano Crolle - Arese, Italy
1, 2, 3) Female  5, 6) nonbreeding male  7, 8) breeding male



Genus Loxia 
Crossbills are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. These birds are typically found in higher northern hemisphere latitudes, where their food sources grows. They will erupt out of the breeding range when the cone crop fails. Crossbills breed very early in the year, often in winter months, to take advantage of maximum cone supplies.

Crossbill, Parrot   Loxia pytyopsittacus  Found: Europe, Asia
The male Parrot Crossbill tends to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation.
Image by: 1) Tero Laakso  2) Ron Knight - England


Crossbill, Red Loxia curvirostra  Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Red Crossbill tends to be red or orange, females tend to be green or yellow, but there is much variation. There are 9 different variants which evolved to feed on different species of conifer seeds. It has blackish-brown wings, tail.
Similar to: White-winged Crossbill. The White-winged Crossbill has white wing-bars, the Red Crossbill does not.
Image by: 1) Mary Harrsch - Oregon  2) Alastair Rae - England  3) Alan D. Wilson - Oregon  4)  dfaulder  5, 6, 7) Alan - Oregon    8) Elaine R Wilson - Oregon
1) Edited out adult to focus on juvenile  2) Juvenile  3, 4) Female  5 - 8) Male


Crossbill, Scottish  Loxia scotica  Found: Scotland
Image by: 1) Stuart Anthony  2) Peter Smith
1) Female 2) Male


Crossbill, White-winged also Two-barred Crosswing  Loxia leucoptera Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The species has has two subspecies: White-winged Crossbill (Eurasian) Loxia leucoptera bifasciata and White-Winged Crossbill (North America) Loxia leucoptera leucoptera. The male tends to be red or pinkish, females green or yellowish, but there is much variation. They have white wing-bars.
Similar to: Pine Grosbeak. White-winged Crossbill has a crossed bill, shorter tail, and is smaller than Pine Grosbeak.
Similar: Red Crossbill. The White-winged Crossbill has white wing-bars, the Red Crossbill does not.
Image by: 1) Bob Devlin - New Jersey  2, 6) Dominic Sherony   3) Michelle St.Sauveur - Rhode Island    4) John Harrison - Massachusetts   5) Kent McFarland - Vermont  7) MPF - Yorkshire
1, 2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male
1 - 6) L. l. leucoptera  7) L. l. bifasciata




Genus Pinicola Closely related to Pyrrhula
Most grosbeaks are in Family Cardinalidae

Grosbeak, Pine Pinicola enucleator   Found: North America, Europe (rarely)
The Pine Grosbeak has long black tail; black wings with white wing-bars; thick bill. Male has rose-red head, back, rump. Female has olive-yellow head, rump; gray back, underparts.
Similar to: White-winged Crossbill. White-winged Crossbill has a crossed bill, shorter tail, and is smaller than Pine Grosbeak.
Image by: 1) Daniel Arndt - Alberta, CA  2) Bill Bouton - Michigan  3) MDF  4, 5) Martha Jong-Lantink - Finland   6)  Seabamirum
1, 2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male




Genus Pyrrhula Closely related to Pinicola
Bullfinches have glossy black wings, tail feathers; white rump; brown legs. Their short, swollen bill is adapted to eat buds. The males can be distinguished by their orange or red breast.

Bullfinch  also Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula   Found: Europe, Asia
The Eurasian Bullfinch has gray upperparts; black flight feathers, cap, face bill; white rump. Male has red underparts; female has gray-buff underparts.
Image by:  1) Francis Franklin  2) Simon Eugster   3) Siga  4) Malene Thyssen
1, 2) Female  3, 4) Male 



Genus Rhodopechys - 1 species

Finch, Crimson-winged  Rhodopechys sanguineus  Found: Africa, Asia, Europe
Image by: 1) Tony  2) James Slidester  3) Sergey Volkov  4) Sigmudur Asgeirsson
1, 2) African Crimson-winged Finch (R. s. alienus) 3, 4) Eurasian Crimson-winged Finch (R. s. sanguineus)



Genus Serinus Closely related to genus Carduelis
Serinus is a large genus of birds which are mostly in the Afrotropical region with some outlying species in Europe and Asia. It contains several species groups including canaries, seedeaters and the African siskins. The majority of species are small to medium sized birds with green and yellow, often streaky plumage though there are a few notable exceptions.

Serin, European  Serinus serinus   Found: Europe, Africa
The European Serin has dark-streaked grayish-green upperparts; yellow breast; white belly. Male has brighter yellow face and belly than female.
Image by: 1) Jose Sousa - Portugal  2) Cristiano Crolle - Arese, Italy  3) Janofonsagrada  4) Le No 







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