Fringilla montifringilla (*)
Fringilla montifringilla Linnaeus, 1758
The Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae.
The common English name is probably derived from the German "brâma", meaning bramble or a thorny bush. It has also been called the Cock o' the North and the Mountain Finch.
The Brambling is similar in size and shape to a Chaffinch. Breeding-plumaged male Bramblings are very distinctive, with a black head, dark upperparts, orange breast and white belly. Females and younger birds are less distinct, and more similar in appearance to some Chaffinches. In all plumages, however, Bramblings differs from Chaffinches in a number of features:
Brambling has a white rump whereas that of Chaffinch is grey-green;
An additional difference for all plumages except breeding-plumaged males is the bill colour - yellow in Brambling, dull pinkish in Chaffinch (breeding-plumaged male Bramblings have black bills, Chaffinches in the corresponding plumage have grey bills).
Distribution and habitat
This bird is widespread throughout the forests of northern Europe and Asia. It is migratory, wintering in southern Europe, north Africa, north India, northern Pakistan, China and Japan. It regularly strays into Alaska during migration and may continue as far south as the western United States. Open coniferous or birch woodland is favoured for breeding.
This species is almost entirely migratory. In Europe, it forms large flocks in the winter, sometimes with thousands or even millions of birds in a single flock. Such large gatherings occur especially if beech mast is abundant. Bramblings do not require beech mast in the winter, but winter flocks of Bramblings will move until they find it. This may be an adaptation to avoid competition with the Chaffinch.
Bramblings mostly eat seeds, but unlike most finches, their young are fed largely on insects.
It builds its nest in a tree fork, and decorates the exterior with moss or lichen to make it less conspicuous. It lays 4-9 eggs.
^ a b BirdLife International (2004). Fringilla montifringilla. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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