Wildlife In Focus | Common Chaffinch

David Coultham

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Species Guide: Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

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Video | Everything You Need To Know About The Common Chaffinch

Conservation Status

The main conservation threat to the Chaffinch is the avian disease trichomonosis, which is a parasitic disease affecting their ability to eat. It is often transmitted as a result of infected feeding stations. Owners of bird feeders are encouraged to clean their bird feeders regularly to try and limit the spread of the disease.1

They are currently classified as a Green Species in the U.K. and also Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Conservation Status

Conservation Status


Male chaffinches sport orange chests and cheeks with a blue-grey cap and orange-brown backs. They have white wing bars, and it is this feature that makes them most noticeable in flight. The females are significantly less colorful as they are predominantly brown with some green and yellow highlights.

Male Chaffinch


Their diet consists of seeds and invertebrates.


Chaffinches favor deciduous and coniferous forests, but they have learned to adapt to a range of environments including urban environments. Consequently, they are widespread across the entirety of the British Isles.

Note: The map is a rough illustration of animal distribution across the UK2, whereby light green indicates established populations.


You will often see Chaffinches forming in large flocks where food is abundant, preferring to feed on the ground when they can, as their coloring helps them to blend in. Squabbles frequently break out between birds. This is particularly noticeable with the males which can be very territorial.

The male Chaffinch’s territorial nature is heightened before the breeding season. They start to claim their territories as early as February by making loud and frequent brief chirps. They will also chase off any other males who dare to come too close, as well as birds of other species if they can be easily bullied.

Common Chaffinch Call:

Jorge Leitão, xeno-canto.org

Did You Know? Chaffinch’s song varies between different countries and also different regions within a country!

This territorial nature calms somewhat during the breeding season which commences in April. The females take the lead role in nest building and incubation of eggs. Nests are built from grass, moss, spider webs, and feathers in trees and hedgerows. The female lays up to 5 eggs and incubates them for up to 13 days. After hatching, they are fully fledged within 15 days.

Did You Know? It is estimated that there are upwards of 6.2 million Chaffinches2 breeding in the British Isles each year!

Female Chaffinch


Weight319.0-25.2 grams
Wing Length479-91 mm
Longevity3 years


Sparrowhawks are their main predator. Their nests are often predated on by mammals as well as some birds.


  1. Hanmer, H. J., Cunningham, A. A., John, S. K., Magregor, S. K., Robinson, R. A., Siriwardena, G. M., & Lawson, B. (2022). Habitat use influences severe disease-mediated population declines in two of the most common garden bird species in Great Britain. Scientific Reports12(1), 1-13.
  2. Population data based on RSPB assessment
  3. BTO data
  4. Featherbase
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