Fringilla montifringilla


Status: Winter visitor in variable numbers from November to March.

Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population is considered to be Secure.

Identification: Same size as the commoner Chaffinch. Adult summer male Brambling are unmistakable, having a glossy black head and orange throat and chest. The rest of the underparts are white with some black spotting along the flanks. The bill, back and tail are black. Adult  winter males have the black on the head washed with brown and have a yellow coloured bill. Adult females largely resemble adult winter males, but have a grey-brown coloured head, with a diffuse black supercilium. Juveniles are very similar to adult females. In all ages/sexes, Bramblingshave a narrow white stripe on the back and rump, a good feature to look for in flying groups of finches.

Similar Species: Chaffinch

Call: A rather Linnet like "te-chup". The song (unlikely to be heard in Ireland) consists of a drawn out "rhhhhu".

Diet: Feeds on seeds and spilt grain in stubble fields with other finches. Infrequent visitor to garden bird tables.

Breeding: Does not breed in Ireland. The Brambling is a very common breeder in Scandinavia and eastwards to Siberia.

Wintering: Bramblings are winter visitors to Ireland, almost always associating with flocks of Chaffinches and other finches. Tends to be seen in rural areas, though will visit garden bird feeders. The numbers of Bramblings wintering in Ireland vary from year to year depending on the weather and availability of food in Continental Europe. Outside of Ireland, flocks of several million Bramblings have been recorded at favoured feeding sites in winter.

Where to See: There are no regular sites to see Brambling in Ireland. Checking large flocks of finches, especially Chaffinches in winter is the best way to find this species.

Monitored by: BirdTrack.

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