Wildlife In Focus | Brambling

David Coultham

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Species Guide: Brambling (Fringilla Montifringilla)

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Video | Everything You Need To Know About The Brambling

Conservation Status

The Brambling is a winter visitor to the U.K. arriving in September and departing again in April to travel back to their breeding grounds in Northern Europe. It is not unknown to see flocks of hundreds of birds when they migrate here. Even more impressive though are the flocks in Central Europe which can contain millions of migrating Bramblings! They are classified as a Green Species in the U.K. and Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Conservation Status

Conservation Status


Arguably one of the most attractive members of the finch family. Both males and females sport a bright orange and white chest, though the males have more vibrant tones. They have predominantly black wings with patches of white and orange. During the summer, males have black head feathers, but these turn more grey-brown during the winter. The female head feathers remain grey-brown all year around.

The Brambling is similar in size to a Chaffinch and can be confused with this finch as they form mixed flocks in the winter. The distinguishing feature to look for on the Brambling though is the white rump feathers.


The Brambling is a ground feeder and will eat seeds, nuts & berries. They will also eat insects. Their preferred food is beech mast, and it is the availability of this in Europe that will significantly impact the Brambling population

Male brambling. Credit WildMediaSK


During the breeding season, they are widespread amongst the forests of Northern Europe and the Palearctic. During the winter they inhabit a range of woodland environments. The map below is an illustration of the U.K. winter population:

Note that this map is for a rough illustration of animal distribution across the UK1, whereby blue indicates established autumn/winter populations.


Bramblings breed from 1 year old and build their nests high in the trees. The female builds the nest from bark, grass, lichen, heather, cobwebs, feathers & hair. A clutch of eggs contains up to 7 eggs which the female incubates for up to 12 days. The young are cared for by both parents and are fully fledged after a further 13 to 14 days. They will only have a single brood of eggs each year.

Brambling Call:

Alan Dalton xeno-canto.org

Did You Know? Although the Brambling migrates in its millions into Northern Europe to breed, a few pairs are observed each year staying to breed in the U.K!

They typically lay between five and seven eggs in a nest built within the fork of a tree. The chicks hatch after close to two weeks and fledge around 14 days later.

Female Brambling. WildMediaSK


Weight221.1 to 28.5 grams (0.74 to 1.01 ounces)
Wing Length385 to 96 mm (3.35 to 3.78 inches)
Longevity2 to 5 years

Did You Know? The oldest recorded Brambling was over 8 1/2 years old!2


Sparrowhawks are their main predator. Their nests are often predated by Carrion Crows and Siberian Jays.


  1. Population data based on EuropeBirdPortal data
  2. BTO data
  3. Featherbase data
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