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Sunday, 15 March 2020

The Hawfinch

The hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) is a passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. Its closest living relatives are the evening grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertinus) from North America and the hooded grosbeak (Hesperiphona abeillei) from Central America and Mexico.
This bird breeds across Europe and temperate Asia (Palearctic). It is mainly resident in Europe, but many Asian birds migrate further south in the winter. It is a rare vagrant to the western islands of Alaska.
Deciduous or mixed woodland, including parkland, with large trees – especially hornbeam – is favoured for breeding. The hawfinch builds its nest in a bush or tree, and lays 2–7 eggs. The food is mainly seeds and fruit kernels, especially those of cherries, which it cracks with its powerful bill. This large finch species is usually seen in a pair or small group.
The 16.5–18 cm long hawfinch is a bulky bull-headed bird, which appears very short-tailed in flight. Its head is orange-brown with a black eyestripe and bib, and a massive bill, which is black in summer but paler in winter. The upper parts are dark brown and the underparts orange.
The white wing bars and tail tip are striking in flight. The sexes are similar. The call is a hard chick. The song of this unobtrusive bird is quiet and mumbled.
The hawfinch has an overall length of 18 cm (7.1 in), with a wingspan that ranges from 29 to 33 cm (11 to 13 in). It weighs 46–70 g (1.6–2.5 oz) with the male being on average slightly heavier than the female. It is a robust bird with a thick neck, large round head and a wide, strong conical beak with a metallic appearance. It has short pinkish legs with a light hue and it has a short tail. It has brown eyes. The plumage of the female is slightly paler than that of the male. The overall colour is light brown, its head having an orange hue to it. Its eyes have a black circle around them, extending to its beak and surrounding it at its edge. Its throat is also black. The sides of its neck, as well as the back of its neck, are gray. The upper side of its wings are a deep black colour. The wings also have three stripes from approximately the middle till their sides: a white, a brown and a blue stripe. Adults moults between July and September. The hawfinch feeds primarily on hard seeds from trees, as well as fruit seeds, which it obtains with the help of its strong beak with accompanying jaw muscles. Its jaw muscles exert a force equivalent to a load of approximately 30–48 kg. Thus it can break through the seeds of cherries and plums. Other common sources of food include pine seeds, berries, sprouts and the occasional caterpillar and beetle. They can also break through olive seeds. The bird is known to eat in groups, especially during the winter.

(lat. Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Sunday, 15 March 2020
created by: Marek Sarvas