Brambling/Fringilla montifringilla

Brambling/Fringilla montifringilla - Photographer: Георги Петров
Brambling/Fringilla montifringilla - Photographer: Sergey Panayotov
Brambling/Fringilla montifringilla - Photographer: Борис Белчев
Brambling/Fringilla montifringilla - Photographer: Борис Белчев

L 14-16 cm. Common breeder in upland birch forest of Fenno-Scandia; absent from dense, tall forest, prefers more open coniferous with some deciduous growth. Summer visitor to breeding sites (mostly mid Apr-Oct), winters in C and S Europe, but in mild winters many remain in S Scandinavia. Rather shy. Food mainly seeds, in summer also insects and in winter often beech nuts. In some winters when beech most plentiful, enormous flocks gather around beech trees. Builds nest in tree fork, generally in birch, also in spruce.
IDENTIFICATION: Same size and shape as Chaffinch, but in all plumages recognized by white rump (tinged yellow on juvenile) and little or no white on sides of tail. Like Chaffinch, has pale wing markings, but these are partially rusty-yellow as well as narrower and less conspicuous. Flight as Chaffinch’s, but single-species passage flocks are often somewhat more compact. - male summer: Head, nape, shoulders and mantle glossy blueblack. Throat, breast and lesser wing-coverts unspotted rusty-yellow. Some dark spots on lower flanks. Bill black. - female: Crown, mantle/back and nape-sides rather dark grey-brown, head-sides and central nape paler buffy grey-white, breast buffish. - male winter: Black areas of summer plumage partly concealed by fairly broad rusty-buff fringes, giving somewhat piebald appearance. Bill straw-yellow with dark tip. Most reliably told from female by black showing through on entire head-side. Younger males have blackspotted lesser coverts and broader pale fringes to upperparts.
VOICE: Has characteristic call, a loud, croaking or hard, nasal ‘te-ehp’, uttered both in flight and when perched. Migrating flocks give hard, short, slightly nasal ‘yeck’ calls (cf. Chaffinch), oft repeated. In anxiety, utters repeated, fine, silver-clear notes, ‘slitt, slitt, slitt, ...’. Song very distinctive and with desolate ring, a slowly repeated, straight, barely second-long, crude buzzing note, ‘rrrrrhüh’, which can recall a distant wood-cutting crosscut saw.

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