Eurasian Bullfinch/Pyrrhula pyrrhula - Male
L 15½-17½ cm. Breeds in mixed woods, in parks and larger gardens, in churchyards etc. with some conifers, sometimes (esp. in Fenno-Scandia) also in coniferous forest. Mostly resident, but some N European breeders migrate (mainly end Oct) to S Scandinavia and C Europe. Not really shy, but unobtrusive and easily overlooked in summer. Quiet, almost sluggish in behaviour. Often seen in pairs or in small, rather loose flocks. Food various kinds of seeds and shoots of fruit trees; also some insects in summer. Nests in bush or tree, often on sheltered branch.
IDENTIFICATION: A rather big and very compact finch which looks bullnecked or neckless, has plump body, quite big head, and short but deep, ‘podgy’ bill. Bearing in mind its fairly sedentary lifestyle, has surprisingly long wings and long tail, and flight is fast and in long undulations; at range, still recognized by plump body and broad neck. In rear view, identified in flight by white rump patch contrasting with black tail and grey back. Also has a broad, off-white wing-bar. Adult has black crown and ‘face’, and sexes best separated by underpart colour, a bright red, female greyish-buff. male also has pure ash-grey mantle and back, whereas female has the grey tinged brownish. - Juvenile (up to Sep-Oct): Head entirely grey-brown, and sexes are alike (being female-coloured below).
VOICE: Call a short whistle or fluted note, low-pitched, discreet and almost inhaled, usually with melancholy ring, ‘phü’, or with hint of drop at end, ‘phew’; locally in Europe with distinctly falling pitch, ‘phü-ew’. Conversational call, sometimes when flushed, a stifled, repeated ‘bütt’. Song soft, slowly recited, halting and tentative, a mixture of call-like, low-pitched fluted notes and choking squeaky and scraping notes; often double-noted ‘phü-phü’ inserted, or the fluted notes are drawn out into melancholy descending notes, ‘pyüüuh’. Some notes are so muffled that they are audible only at very closest range, making the song sound even more discontinuous and hesitant at distance.