Get to Know the Green Finch

Get to Know the Green Finch

Elinor CohenApril 05, 2022

Just in time for breeding season!

Identifiable by their stunning green hues and distinctive forked tails, Greenfinches are a rare but beautiful bird. What some people don’t know, however, is that there are actually two types of Greenfinches: the European Greenfinch and the Oriental Greenfinch.
European Greenfinch (Cardeulis chloris) is commonly found throughout the woodlands and forests of the United Kingdom.Oriental Greenfinch (Chloris sinica) can be seen in eastern Asia, Japan, and parts of North America (mainly California and British Columbia).

Common Characteristics of the Greenfinch

Both the European Greenfinch and the Oriental Greenfinch are stocky little garden birds that measure about the size of house sparrows. Their chunky bills are perfect for consuming seeds, which is their favorite type of food. 
Male greenfinches have an olive-green hue with greenish-yellow coloring on the breast and bright yellow plumage. Females look similar but with more muted colors and less yellow on their wings. The youth tend to be even paler with streaky, forked tails. 
As for vocalizations, the Greenfinch is known for its “djeee” noise and “chichichichichit” sounds in flight. 

Where Does the Greenfinch live?

These birds’ natural habitat was originally in woodlands and forest edges, but they can now be found in gardens as well, making it possible to spot them near residences. Both types of greenfinches tend to stay in the continent and environment near where they grew up. 


What are the Breeding Patterns of Greenfinches?

Late January is when you’ll start to hear the males sing, which is an indication that the birds are ready to get things moving. It will be about a month later, in late February, when the males and females start partnering off. Interestingly enough, it typically takes until about April for the official breeding to commence.

Greenfinches like to nest in what birders call “loose colonies” of 4-6 birds, typically within evergreen shrubs. As for the nests themselves, they gravitate towards those built from twigs, moss, and grass. 


What Does the Greenfinch Eat? 

Greenfinches’ large bills let them eat a wide variety of seeds easily, but they prefer black sunflower seeds or hearts, peanuts, seed mixes, and the occasional insect. These birds are more than happy to sit on hanging bird feeders, which may make them prime candidates for indulging in the feed around your neck of the woods. 







What About Trichomonosis?

Sadly, a 2005 outbreak of trichomonosis (a virulent parasitic infection) led to a 35% decline in the presence of the Greenfinch. This disease, which causes excess salivation and vomiting, is easily spread through bird feeders and bird tables. It affects the back of the throat and the gullet, making it hard for birds to feed. Although now on the decline, birders are cautioned to be extra attentive when cleaning their bird feeders to help prevent transmission of the disease.  Thank you for your support of wildlife and wild birds!

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