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Coccothraustes coccothraustes

Photo by Eduardo Balogh (Trek Nature)

Common name:
hawfinch (en); bico-grossudo (pt); gros-bec casse-noyaux (fr); picogordo común (es); kernbeißer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Fringillidae

This species is found throughout most of Europe, from the Iberian Peninsula north to Britain and southern Scandinavia and east into Turkey and Russia, along the Caucasus and southern Russia into northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia and north-eastern China. There are also population in Iran, between Uzbekistan and western China, and in northern Africa from Morocco to Tunisia. The populations in Europe are mostly resident, but the most Asian population migrate to winter around the Mediterranean, and in south-eastern China, Korea and Japan.

These birds are 16,5-18 cm long and have a wingspan of 29-33 cm. They weigh 48-62 g.

The hawfinch is mostly found in temperate forests, mainly oak and other deciduous trees but also mixed and coniferous forests. They also use rural gardens as well as urban parks and gardens.

They feed mainly on seeds, being able to crack open seeds and large as cherry pits and almonds with their strong beak. They also take buds, shoots of various tree and scrubs. During the breeding season also caterpillars.

Hawfinches breed in March-July. They can either nest in individual pairs or often in small colonies. Each nest is a bulky structure made of dry twigs, with an inner cup made of roots grasses, twigs, dry moss, and lichens. It is usually placed in a large tree. The female lays 4-6 whitish eggs with dark brown blotches, which she incubates alone for 11-14 days while the male brings her food. The chicks fledge 10-14 days after hatching. Each pair usually raises a single clutch per year, but in very favourable years they may raise a second clutch.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 14,7-50,4 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats and data for part of Europe show a stable trend over the last 3 decades.

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