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The longest-running survey of garden birds in the world.

New results from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden Bird Feeding Survey shows that record numbers of Bullfinch are using garden feeding stations.

New results reveal that the stunning and normally shy Bullfinch is being spotted in unprecedented numbers at garden feeding stations, suggesting that gardens appear to be particularly important for the species. Their overall breeding population dropped sharply during the 1970s and 1980s, and has remained at a similar level since. The same decline did not happen in gardens, however, and since the mid-1990s the number of Bullfinches coming to feeders has exhibited more than a sixfold increase.

Eurasian Bullfinch

The Bullfinch, Common Bullfinch or Eurasian Bullfinch - Pyrrhula pyrrhula - is known simply as Bullfinch in the UK. It is mainly resident, but many northern birds migrate further south in the winter. They are found in mixed woodland with some conifers.


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.


A low whistle “deu” which also forms the basis of feeble, creaky, often tri-syllabic piping song.


Bullfinches have a varied diet including seeds from trees, weeds, insects, sunflower hearts, nuts, grain, berries and buds.


It builds its nest in a bush, mature stands of scrub, or tree. 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.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

As the bullfinch was not recognised as a species of conservation concern until recently, very little conservation work has been focused on it. It may have benefited from general measures such as the creation and management of broadleaved woodland. Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship encourage sympathetic hedgerow and field margin management that will help the bullfinch, as will the new Hedgerows Regulations. The bullfinch is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the plan aims to halt the decline by 2003 and promote a recovery of numbers.


Ask Aves Birding Tours to create a custom tour for you to see these beautiful birds.

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