Irish Name: Breacán
Scientific name: Fringilla montifringilla
Bird Family: Finches
Conservation status


Winter visitor in variable numbers from November to March.


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, Bramblings have a narrow white stripe on the back and rump, a good feature to look for in flying groups of finches.


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


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


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


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 number of Bramblings wintering in Ireland varies 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.

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Similar Species


Irish Name:
Rí Rua
Scientific name:
Fringilla coelebs
Bird Family: