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The Bullfinch is a shy bird, sometimes in small flocks, but more often a family group. They are quiet, and have a soft, almost sad call, and is generally not regarded as a song bird!

The male is unmistakable with his beautiful pink/red breast and cheeks, grey back, black cap and tail, and bright white rump. They feed voraciously of the buds of various trees in spring and were once a 'pest' of fruit crops, and if the Bullfinch is around it is a good reason to erect a net around your fruit bushes. in recent years declines in numbers have placed it on the Red List.

In the breeding season the Bullfinch is more of a woodland bird, and can be found in, Woodlands, orchard and hedgerows. Best looked for at woodland edges - usually located by its mournful call. But later in the year, around Autumn, they will venture forth to gardens and parks.

Quick Facts

First clutches laid
mid May

Number in Britain

Conservation Status UK

Status in UK
Resident Breeder, Scarce Visitor

16 cm

26 cm

21 g

Forest, woodland, farmland

First Record
14th Century

Egg Size

Egg Weight
2.1 g

Clutch Size
4 - 5 eggs

14 - 16 days

15 - 17 days

Number of Broods
2 or 3

Age at First Breeding
1 year

Typical Lifespan
2 years

Maximum Recorded Age
9 years, 2 months

  • Diet consists of, Seeds of fleshy fruits (eg Rasberries), buds, shoots, feed their young on invertebrates 
  • The Bullfinch has a short, stubby beak specially adapted for feeding on buds.
  • It is usual to see the same pair of birds together throughout the year as they form a strong and lasting bond.
  • You often hear the Bullfinch’s call but do not see them as their soft piping note can travel a long distance.
  • The Bullfinch rarely move more than a few kilometres throughout their lives.
  • They are reluctant to visit feeders as they are one of our shyest birds.
  • Bullfinches can be taught to imitate a whistle and where once popular cage birds.
  • Pairs may manage thee broods a year, but most produce two broods.
  • Although small flocks may appear at feeding sites in winter, they are usually seen individually or in pairs.
  • The Bullfinch is front heavy and has a bull-headed appearance hence their name ‘Bullfinch’.
  • They have a short period of catching flies in the summer when they feed their young.  They are specialist seed and bud eaters.

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