Bullfinch

Irish Name: Corcrán coille
Scientific name: Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Bird Family: Finches
green
Conservation status

Status

Resident. Additional birds arrive from the Continent in winter

Identification

Named for its characteristic heavy build and thick “bullish” neck, the Bullfinch is a stocky bird. At around 15cm in length they are roughly the same size as a House Sparrow, though often appear much plumper. Their distinctive thick, stubby black bills are the perfect tools both for shearing off tasty flower buds and for crushing tough seeds. Males have a glossy black cap, face, wings and tail, a pale bar on each wing, and striking white rump patch, pencil-grey back and beautiful reddish-rose breast and belly. Females look similar, save that the breast and belly are instead a greyish brown colour. Young birds are browner overall, and lack the black cap. Usually feeds quietly hidden away in a tree or shrub, usually in pairs or small groups.

Voice

A quiet melancholic sounding “peu”, sometimes doubled “peu-peu”. The song is a similar quiet warble

Diet

Feeds mainly on the buds of native trees (Oak, Cherry, Hawthorn), as well as seeds and berries.

Breeding

Breeds throughout Ireland, usually in hedgerows and deciduous woodland

Wintering

Widespread, especially in gardens

Monitored by

Garden Bird Survey