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Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)

Bullfinches are easily recognisable if you’re fortunate enough to catch one! They are stocky little birds and both sexes have black caps, black bills, black wings and black tails with a white rump which is striking during flight. Males have bright rose pink cheeks, belly and breast, and a bright red nose. Females have a brown back and pinkish under parts and juveniles look very similar to females but without the black cap. The shape of their sturdy beaks is designed for mischievously picking buds from the trees.
Bullfinches are mainly found in woodland areas, particularly those with coniferous trees, but can also be spotted in large hedges, orchards, parks and if you’re lucky, your garden! The nest is built by the female Bullfinch from twigs, roots and moss in thick bushes and conifers. Breeding season for Bullfinches begins in April and is usually in full swing by May/June. Sometimes they will produce three broods each season with between 4 and 6 pale blue spotted eggs per clutch which incubate for 12-14 days. During breeding season it’s unlikely you will spot a Bullfinch as they stay very concealed and close to their nesting area. Bullfinches, unlike many other birds, remain faithful for life and they will often join together with other pairs to form a small group.
Bullfinches have a varied diet including seeds from trees, weeds, insects, sunflower hearts, nuts, grain, berries and buds. The young Bullfinch lives on live foods brought to it by mum and dad, mainly insects and larvae. In the garden they aren’t often seen at bird feeders but can occasionally be seen hanging at a seed feeder or pecking at a suet cake. Their preference for the buds on trees has led to them being considered as pests, and in certain areas of the UK this has led to the legally licensed culling of Bullfinches, especially in orchards where they can destroy crops picking at the fruit trees.
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