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Fringilla coelebs chaffinch male edit2.jpg
Male common chaffinch
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Subfamily: Fringillinae
Leach, 1820
Genus: Fringilla
Linnaeus, 1758

The genus Fringilla is a small group of finches from the Old World, which are the only species in the subfamily Fringillinae. The genus name Fringilla is Latin for "finch".[1]

The four species are:[2]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs).jpg Fringilla coelebs Common chaffinch Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa
Pinzón azul de Gran Canaria (macho), M. A. Peña.jpg Fringilla polatzeki Gran Canaria blue chaffinch Canary Islands.
Teidefink.jpg Fringilla teydea Tenerife blue chaffinch Canary Islands
Fringilla montifringilla2.jpg Fringilla montifringilla Brambling Europe, north Africa, north India, northern Pakistan, China, and Japan

The common chaffinch is found primarily in forest habitats, in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia; the blue chaffinch is an island endemic; and the brambling breeds in the northern taiga and southern tundra of Eurasia.[3]

The three species are about the same size, 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length, and are similar in shape.[3] They have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings.[4] They are not as specialised as the other finches, eating both insects and seeds. While breeding, they feed their young on insects rather than seeds, unlike the other finches.[3]

In 2016 it was proposed that the extremely rare Gran Canaria subspecies F. teydea polatzeki be treated as a separate species, thus creating a fourth species, F. polatzeki.[5][6]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Finches, euphonias". World Bird List Version 5.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Newton, Ian (1973). Finches. New Naturalist 55. New York: Taplinger. pp. 19–30. ISBN 0-8008-2720-1.
  4. ^ Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan; Davis, John (1993). Finches and Sparrows. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03424-9.
  5. ^ Sangster, G.; Rodríguez‐Godoy, F.; Roselaar, C.S.; Robb, M.S.; Luksenburg, J.A. (2016). "Integrative taxonomy reveals Europe's rarest songbird species, the Gran Canaria blue chaffinch Fringilla polatzeki". Journal of Avian Biology. 47 (2): 159–166. doi:10.1111/jav.00825.
  6. ^ "The Rarest Songbird in Europe". Wildlife Articles. Retrieved 2016-03-05.

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