The genus Fringilla is a small group of finches from the Old World, which are the only species in the subfamily Fringillinae. The genus name Fringilla is Latin for "finch".[1]

The four species are:[2]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) Fringilla coelebs Common chaffinch Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa
Pinzón azul de Gran Canaria (macho), M. A. Peña Fringilla polatzeki Gran Canaria blue chaffinch Canary Islands.
Teidefink Fringilla teydea Tenerife blue chaffinch Canary Islands
Fringilla montifringilla2 Fringilla montifringilla Brambling Europe, north Africa, north India, northern Pakistan, China, and Japan

The common chaffinch is found primarily in forest habitats, in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia; the blue chaffinch is an island endemic; and the brambling breeds in the northern taiga and southern tundra of Eurasia.[3]

The three species are about the same size, 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length, and are similar in shape.[3] They have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings.[4] They are not as specialised as the other finches, eating both insects and seeds. While breeding, they feed their young on insects rather than seeds, unlike the other finches.[3]

In 2016 it was proposed that the extremely rare Gran Canaria subspecies F. teydea polatzeki be treated as a separate species, thus creating a fourth species, F. polatzeki.[5][6]

Fringilla coelebs chaffinch male edit2
Male common chaffinch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Fringillinae
Leach, 1820
Genus: Fringilla
Linnaeus, 1758


  1. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Newton, Ian (1973). Finches. New Naturalist 55. New York: Taplinger. pp. 19–30. ISBN 0-8008-2720-1.
  4. ^ Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan; Davis, John (1993). Finches and Sparrows. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03424-9.
  5. ^ Sangster, G.; Rodríguez‐Godoy, F.; Roselaar, C.S.; Robb, M.S.; Luksenburg, J.A. (2016). "Integrative taxonomy reveals Europe's rarest songbird species, the Gran Canaria blue chaffinch Fringilla polatzeki". Journal of Avian Biology. 47 (2): 159–166. doi:10.1111/jav.00825.
  6. ^ "The Rarest Songbird in Europe". Wildlife Articles. Retrieved 2016-03-05.

External links

Asteroid family

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Bonin grosbeak

The Bonin grosbeak or Bonin Islands grosbeak (Carpodacus ferreorostris) is an extinct finch. It is one of the diverse bird taxa that are vernacularly called "grosbeaks", but it is not closely related to the grosbeaks sensu stricto. Many authorities place the species in the genus Carpodacus, but some place it in its own genus, Chaunoproctus.


The brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It has also been called the cock o' the north and the mountain finch. It is widespread and migratory, often seen in very large flocks.

Cape sparrow

The Cape sparrow (Passer melanurus), or mossie, is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae found in southern Africa. A medium-sized sparrow at 14–16 centimetres (5.5–6.3 in), it has distinctive plumage, including large pale head stripes in both sexes. Its plumage is mostly grey, brown, and chestnut, and the male has some bold black and white markings on its head and neck. The species inhabits semi-arid savannah, cultivated areas, and towns, and ranges from the central coast of Angola to eastern South Africa and Swaziland. Three subspecies are distinguished in different parts of its range.

Cape sparrows primarily eat seeds, and also eat soft plant parts and insects. They typically breed in colonies, and when not breeding they gather in large nomadic flocks to move around in search of food. The nest can be constructed in a tree, a bush, a cavity, or a disused nest of another species. A typical clutch contains three or four eggs, and both parents are involved in breeding, from nest building to feeding young. The Cape sparrow is common in most of its range and coexists successfully in urban habitats with two of its relatives, the native southern grey-headed sparrow and the house sparrow, an introduced species. The Cape sparrow's population has not been recorded decreasing significantly, and it is not seriously threatened by human activities, so it is assessed as a species of least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Common chaffinch

The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), usually known simply as the chaffinch, is a common and widespread small passerine bird in the finch family. The male is brightly coloured with a blue-grey cap and rust-red underparts. The female is much duller in colouring, but both sexes have two contrasting white wing bars and white sides to the tail. The male bird has a strong voice and sings from exposed perches to attract a mate.

The chaffinch breeds in much of Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa. The female builds a nest with a deep cup in the fork of a tree. The clutch is typically four or five eggs, which hatch in about 13 days. The chicks fledge in around 14 days, but are fed by both adults for several weeks after leaving the nest. Outside the breeding season, chaffinches form flocks in open countryside and forage for seeds on the ground. During the breeding season, they forage on trees for invertebrates, especially caterpillars, and feed these to their young. They are partial migrants; birds breeding in warmer regions are sedentary, while those breeding in the colder northern areas of their range winter further south.

The eggs and nestlings of the chaffinch are taken by a variety of mammalian and avian predators. Its large numbers and huge range mean that chaffinches are classed as of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Desert finch

The desert finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta), sometimes called Lichtenstein's desert finch, is a large brown true finch found in southern Eurasia. Its taxonomy is confused, and it has formerly been placed in Fringilla, Bucanetes, Carduelis and Rhodopechys.

It has an average wingspan of 26 centimetres (10 in). It has a stout black bill, black and white remiges and rectrices, and a slash of rosy-pink on each wing. The female is more dull in color than the male, but other than that the adult sexes are similar in color pattern.

The bird is indeed a desert resident in areas where water is readily available, but it can also be found in low mountains and foothills, and in cultivated valleys. It feeds on seeds and the occasional insect. Nesting occurs in trees in the spring, often in fruit trees in orchards, and the female lays and incubates 4 to 6 pale green, lightly speckled eggs.

This species does not migrate except locally. The desert finch congregates near rural and remote human settlements, and the well-watered orchard in otherwise arid land is an ideal habitat. It can be found in feeding in large flocks of its own species or mixed finch flocks.

Recent research by Zamora et al. (2006) has revealed that the desert finch is more closely related to the greenfinches of the genus Carduelis (or Chloris, if Carduelis is split up) as indicated by DNA sequence analysis, vocalizations, and the presence of a black eye-stripe. Genetically, it seems very close to the common ancestor of the greenfinches. It may be that the latter evolved from a desert form and later developed the green plumage, or that the common ancestor of the greenfinches and the desert finch (which lived around 6 million years ago) was a species of semiarid habitat which subsequently diverged into a truly desert-adapted lineage, today represented by the desert finch, and the ancestor of a woodlands lineage, the greenfinches.

European goldfinch

The European goldfinch or goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), is a small passerine bird in the finch family that is native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.

The breeding male has a red face and a black-and-white head. The back and flanks are buff or chestnut brown. The black wings have a broad yellow bar. The tail is black and the rump is white. Males and females are very similar, but females have a slightly smaller red area on the face.

The goldfinch is often depicted in Italian renaissance paintings of the Madonna and Child.

Fold (Unix)

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Gran Canaria blue chaffinch

The Gran Canaria blue chaffinch (Fringilla polatzeki) is a species of passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is endemic to Gran Canaria in Spain's Canary Islands.

Green-tailed towhee

The green-tailed towhee (Pipilo chlorurus) is the smallest towhee, but is still one of the larger members of the American sparrow family Passerellidae.

Its breeding range covers most of the interior Western United States, with a winter range in Mexico and the southern edge of the Southwestern United States.

This bird can be recognized by the bright green stripes on the edge of its wings. It has a distinct white throat and a rufous cap. It measures 7.25 in (18.4 cm) long and weighs 29 g (1.0 oz).It is fairly tame, but often stays hidden under a bush. It is fairly common in habitats with sagebrush and other such bushes. It is uncommonly seen because of its tendency to stay under cover.

Italian sparrow

The Italian sparrow (Passer italiae), also known as the cisalpine sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in Italy and other parts of the Mediterranean region. In appearance, it is intermediate between the house sparrow, and the Spanish sparrow, a species of the Mediterranean and Central Asia closely related to the house sparrow. The Italian sparrow occurs in northern Italy and neighbouring regions, with intermediates with the house sparrow in a very narrow contact zone in the Alps, a slow gradation in appearance from the Italian to Spanish sparrows across central and southern Italy, and more birds of intermediate appearance in Malta, Crete, and other parts of the Mediterranean.

There has been much debate on the origins and taxonomic status of the Italian sparrow, especially given its possible hybrid origin. Some have classified it as a subspecies of house sparrow, a subspecies of the Spanish sparrow, or as a distinct species, a treatment followed if only for convenience by authorities such as the Handbook of the Birds of the World. A DNA analysis by Glenn-Peter Sætre and colleagues published in 2011 indicated an origin of the Italian sparrow through hybridisation between the Spanish and house sparrows, and Sætre and colleagues argued that given its origins and the limited extent of hybridisation, the treatment as a distinct species was supported.

Lark bunting

The lark bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) is a medium-sized American sparrow native to central and western North America. It is also the state bird of Colorado.


A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less accurately – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes (three pointing forward and one back), which facilitates perching, amongst other features specific to their evolutionary history in Australaves.

With more than 140 families and some 6,600 identified species, Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates. Passerines are divided into three suborders: Acanthisitti (New Zealand wrens), Tyranni (suboscines) and Passeri (oscines).The passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, and the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous, while the shrikes are carnivorous.

The terms "passerine" and "Passeriformes" are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.

Red fody

The red fody (Foudia madagascariensis), also known as the Madagascar fody in Madagascar, red cardinal fody in Mauritius, or common fody, is a small bird native to Madagascar and introduced to various other islands in the Indian Ocean. It is a common bird within its restricted range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

Rock sparrow

The rock sparrow (Petronia petronia) is a small passerine bird in the sparrow family Passeridae. It is the only member of the genus Petronia. It breeds on barren rocky hills from the Iberian peninsula and western north Africa across southern Europe and through central Asia. It is largely resident in the west of its range, but Asian birds migrate to more southerly areas, or move down the mountains.

Sudan golden sparrow

The Sudan golden sparrow (Passer luteus) is a small bird in the sparrow family found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a popular cage bird, and in aviculture it is known as the golden song sparrow. The Arabian golden sparrow and this species are sometimes considered one species, as the "golden sparrow".

Tenerife blue chaffinch

The Tenerife blue chaffinch (Fringilla teydea) is a species of passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is endemic to Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands. This bird is the natural symbol of this island, together with the Canary Islands dragon tree.

White-winged snowfinch

The white-winged snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis), or snowfinch, is a small passerine bird. Despite its name, it is a sparrow rather than a true finch.

Yellow-throated sparrow

The yellow-throated sparrow or chestnut-shouldered petronia (Gymnoris xanthocollis) is a species of sparrow found in southern Asia.


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