The male Chaffinch is distinctively coloured, especially in spring when the dull outer edges of his feathers wear away to reveal the striking blue head and pink breast. In all plumages though, Chaffinches are easily told by their unique combination of two broad white wing bars and obvious white outer tail feathers.


Breeds in woodlands, parks, gardens and hedgerows. Winters in gardens and farmland, especially stubble fields.


The scientific name 'coelebs' means 'bachelor', a reference to the fact that, in winter, the females tend to migrate further than the males so that in parts of northern Europe the only Chaffinches left in winter are 'bachelor' males. Conversely, most of the migrant Chaffinches which reach Ireland are females.


Birds in the south and west, including Britain, are mostly sedentary but they are joined in winter by large numbers which migrate from their breeding grounds further north and east.

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