Wildlife In Focus | Greenfinch

David Coultham

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Species Guide: Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)

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Conservation Status

The Greenfinch has not faired well in the U.K., with their numbers declining by nearly 70% since the late 1960s. The cause is the disease Trichomonosis. It is thought that this in part is due to the practice in the U.K. of feeding birds and that the concentrations of birds at feeders have magnified the effects of transmissible diseases for species that are more biologically prone to disease transfer.1 Trichomonosis is a parasitic disease that makes it difficult for the birds to feed.

The Greenfinch was therefore added to the U.K. Red List in 2021. The IUCN Global List has classified the Greenfinch as Least Concern from an international viewpoint.

Conservation Status

Conservation Status


Greenfinches primarily eat seeds & berries, but they will also eat insects, especially during the breeding season.

Image Credit: Wirestock


The Greenfinch can be found in a range of habitats except higher ground, in particular in Scotland. They seem to have adapted very well to urban environments, and it is in these that they are found in their greatest concentrations. The population size estimates vary dramatically between different ornithological organizations, ranging from between 0.7 to 1.7 million breeding pairs!

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


Compared to other finches, the Greenfinch is larger and somewhat stocky. Their bill is also chunky making it ideal for crushing their favorite food. Males have green bodies with yellow streaks across their wing & tail feathers. Females also have yellow streaks on their wings and tails but their bodies are more brown.


They are quite aggressive birds, and can often be seen squabbling amongst themselves and other birds.

Greenfinches have up to two broods each year, starting from early April. Their nests are made from twigs, grass, and moss, with a clutch of eggs of up to 5; which the female incubates for up to 14 days. Chicks are fully fledged after a further 13 to 16 days.

They have a very distinctive call, as it sounds quite wheezy.

Greenfinch Call:

Martin Billard, xeno-canto.org

Image Credit: Alberto Carrera


Adults weigh up to 31 grams and have a wing length of up to 91mm.3 The oldest Greenfinch recorded was nearly 12 years old.


Sparrowhawks are the major predators of Greenfinches. Their nests are also at risk of predation by mammals.


  1. Habitat use influences severe disease-mediated population declines in two of the most common garden bird species in Great Britain
  2. Population data based on RSPB assessment
  3. Featherbase
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