Green finch

Courtesy of Jacob Spinks CC BY-SA 2.0 License

The Green finch--Carduelis chloris

The green finch is a member of the family Fringillidae.


This large stocky finch which is 14 cm long with a wing span of 16-18cm is a familiar finch to birders. They tenant localities such as woodland, orchards, parks,gardens and farm land hedgerows and is resident throughout the year.

The plumage is yellowish green, with yellow rump and bright yellow leading edge to wings and yellow  patches towards the base of the distinct forked tail. The female has grey brown  slightly streaked under parts are tinged yellow  but there is less yellow on the wings and tail than the male.

The bills and legs are flesh coloured. In relation to the body the wing size and tail are medium sized. The neck is short the bill conical and medium sized and the legs are short. The flight is bounding typical of the family. The bird hops.

They can be told from all other yellowish green finches { several of which have a yellow rump} by bright yellow patches on the wing and from all others except the similarly marked siskin by yellow base at the tail.

The song is a nasal "Greeeeeen" or " dzweeee".

The bird is a typical seed eater but it will also eat berries in the autumn months, and they are regular visitors to bird feeders where they eat seeds and peanuts. The chicks and nestlings are fed on insects and other invertebrates. 

THE GREEN FINCH--Below top male green finch--bottom female .Photograph courtesy of Andreas Trepte,www.photo@a-trepte.de

Courtesy of Jacob Spinks CC BY-SA 2.0 License

















In the north of England green finches begin to nest in April and May. The nest is placed higher than is usual for small birds at least a couple of meters from the ground and very seldom in a tree, but rather in a hedge or high bush or among ivy.

It is of the open cup type typical of British finches but is not as neat as the nest made by the chaffinch, being constructed of twigs and roots. The interior is lined with wool, feathers and fibrous materials such as grass or hair and is much neater than the exterior. 

Several  nests may be made in close proximity to each other the birds tending to nest in colonies.This is somewhat surprising when green finches have been observed fighting each other in a less than playful manner and also with sparrows they take a dislike too.

The eggs are of a pale greenish background colour spotted with reddish brown. The eggs are incubated by 14-15 days by the female. The chicks fledge at around 14-16 days. There are records of occupied nests being found in August. The green finch may raise two to three broods per season.

After breeding adults and juveniles disperse the juveniles tend to disperse further than the adults as they search out territories of their own. Some birds in the north of our region for example Cumbria,Northumberland and north Yorkshire tend to migrate to southern England to spend the coldest months. 

Conservation status.--U.K.

In the U.K. it is listed on the green list of conservation concern which means there are no immediate conservation concerns. It is doing reasonably well and probably showing a slight increase in population numbers. According to the B.T.O. the latest population number is an estimated 734,000 territories in 2000.

Although there are noticeable declines on farm land due to the change in farming practices and hedge flailing which removes many of their seed sources. However, numbers have increased in gardens keeping the population stable.

The birds species name chloris means green

Birds breed at one year old.

typical life span 2 years. 

According to the results of the BTO Garden Bird Watch survey  { released in 2012} the Green finch is in decline as a garden species. In 1995 it was recorded from 71.2% of gardens --the 2011 figure was 53.9%. This may be down to a disease that has hit the greenfinch population in general. For more information on this visit the Link on this site to the BTO website.

September-2012--one point five million  greenfinches lost to the disease. The disease which was determined in 1996 has decimated populations. Latest figure reveal they fell from 4.3 million birds to 2.8 million birds. See Latest from the BTO Click on the relevant banner on the right hand side of this page.

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Familiar Wild Birds {1800,s}

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An in depth article about the Greenfinch  with historical notes from former ornithologists and other eminent writers can be viewed by visiting http://hub.me/agZod or visit my twitter page at liptrot_dave


Also see Birds via links banner. { Birds of Europe} in depth articles with notes and observations from past ornithologists and other eminent writers.

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