21 Facts about Bullfinches


Hi there

Another selection of facts about Bullfinches

Source:  http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/21-facts/

1. Bullfinches have a huge range, extending from
Ireland right across northern Europe and Asia to

2. The Azores bullfinch is one of the world’s rarest birds,
with a population of fewer than 120 pairs restricted
to the island of São Miguel.

3. The name ‘bullfinch’ comes from the bird’s frontheavy,
bull-headed appearance.

4. Bullfinches were once popular cage birds. They can
be taught to imitate a special bird flute or whistle.

5. The short, stubby beak is specially adapted for
feeding on buds.

6. They are particularly enthusiastic eaters of the buds of
certain fruit trees. Conference, Dr Jules and Williams
pears are particularly popular, along with Morello

7. Due to their bud-eating habits, many thousands
used to be legally trapped and killed each year in
English orchards.

8. Research has shown that a commercial fruit tree can
lose up to half its buds without the harvest being
affected - so the culling may well have been

9. The bullfinch’s call is a soft piping note that carries
surprisingly far: you often hear the call but don’t see
the caller.

10. They are specialist seed and bud eaters; they only
catch insects during a brief period in the summer
when feeding their young.

11. British birds are highly sedentary, seldom moving
more than a few kilometres during their lives.

12. In contrast, northern populations are migratory,
occasionally reaching Britain during the winter.

13. Northern bullfinches are both bigger and brighter
than our native birds; the differences are quite
easy to see in the field.

14. They form strong, lasting pair bonds and it’s usual to
see birds in pairs throughout the year.

15. Females usually show dominance over the males – is
the cock bullfinch the original hen-pecked male?

16. Nests have a double construction, with the twiggy
base supporting a cup of interwoven fine grass and
dried rootlets.

17. Most pairs will attempt to raise two broods a year;
some manage three.

18. Though small flocks may form at feeding sites in the
winter, studies have shown that birds fly to the site
individually or in pairs.

19. While Continental birds prefer coniferous forests,
particularly of spruce, those in Britain are more
usually found in areas with broadleaved trees.

20. The bullfinch is one of our shyest garden birds, which
may explain its reluctance to visit feeders.

21. In addition to the common and Azores bullfinch,
there are five other species: brown, Philippine,
orange, red-headed and Beavan’s.


Kathy and Dave

  • Hello Kathy and Dave,

    I am a "new girl" so have only just read your fact's on bullfinches  We had a male and female last winter

    and they are here again this year (assuming it is the same two !!) They have brought two friend's with them,

    male and a female, but they look like adult's.  Everyone who visit's, is really envious as they are such beautiful

    bird's !  We also have blue tit's, long-tail tit's. gold finches,chaffinches,coal-tits not to mention all the usual.

    Thrilled to death as we had two jay's visit when the weather was bad, and we have the usual "resident robin".

    These all come in spite of us having four cat's, which do not seem to bother the bird's.

    They are "mouser's" !  We also make sure that the bird's are all fed "high up"

    I forgot to say the bullfinches were quite shy last year, but now come on to feeder's and do not bother.

    That is why I tend to think that two of them came last year.

    Sorry to "ramble" on, but really feel honoured by all the bird's that visit us !

    Regards Susan (SueB)

  • Excellent reading, thank you for sharing Blackbird :o)


    I saw my first Bullfinch on the walkway a few weeks ago and nearly yelped with excitement.  They're a stunning bird I think, especially on such a grey day like when I saw one.

  • Great facts! I like the one about how the poor male bullfinch is bullied by his missus! We had a female bullfinch in my garden in North Wales during the snow but maybe her poor bloke was too frightened to join her!  ;)  They are beautiful birds.

    Cheers, Harry x