British wildlife recordings
Fringilla coelebs : Chaffinch - Fringillidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs
The song of the chaffinch recorded on Old Dean Common, Surrey. The chaffinch is one of the most widespread and abundant birds in Britain choosing to breed wherever trees and bushes are present. The males are very dapper in their breeding plumage, with a slate-blue crown and neck, chestnut back, and pinkish underparts. The handsome males pair up with the much plainer females in late winter and one of the first signs of early spring, before the leaves are even on the trees, is the song of the male chaffinch. Their song is a short and dry descending trill that ends with a flourish. Once learnt, the 'pink' call of the chaffinch is very distinctive and betrays how ubiquitous this species really is. Even though continental chaffinches are highly migratory, British birds rarely move more than 5 km from their place of hatching. They have a very varied diet, eating seeds from a number of plants, such as goosefoot, chickweed, and a variety of grasses in the winter, converting to a high protein diet of caterpillars and other insects to feed their ever hungry chicks in the summer. Chaffinches can be single- or double-brooded depending on the weather and location and there are 5.4 million territories in Britain, with numbers slowly increasing.