Greenfinch

Carduelis chloris

SUBFAMILY

Carduelinae

TAXONOMY

Carduelis chloris Linnaeus, 1758. Nine subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: European greenfinch; French: Verdier d'Europe; German: Grünling, Grünfink; Spanish: Verderon Común.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Greenfinches are about 5.5 in (14 cm) in body length. They have pink legs and a stout beak. Both sexes are colored overall yellow-brown, with grayish, yellow-edged wings, and black on the tail. Females are duller than males, and juveniles have streaked breasts.

DISTRIBUTION

Greenfinches range widely across Europe and western Asia. They have also been introduced to parts of South America and Australasia, where they persist as wild, non-native songbirds.

HABITAT

Greenfinches inhabit a wide range of forests and woodlands, orchards, parks, gardens, and farmland containing hedgerows.

BEHAVIOR

Greenfinches are migratory birds, breeding in northern parts of their range and spending the winter further to the south. They are social birds, especially during the non-breeding season, and are often found in small flocks. They may also occur in mixed-species flocks with other finches. The territorial song is a nasal, high-pitched call. They also have characteristic, wheezy flight notes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Greenfinches feed on variety of seeds, including those of trees, shrubs, and herbs. The young are fed partly with insects and spiders, as well as plant matter.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Greenfinches build an unruly nest of sticks lined with feathers. Nests are often grouped together as a loose colony. They typically have two broods each year, with four to five eggs per clutch.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A widespread and abundant species.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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