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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Greenfinches

Hebrides bird sightings - Greenfinch
Greenfinches and House Sparrows sheltering from a gale
(Gusts of 80mph)


(European Greenfinch, Green Linnet, Gringoe, Greeny, Greenie, Greenfynch, Greenbird)

Carduelis carduelis

Photography © Ela Springwater
Callanish - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
25th October, 2008

"5 sparrows and a greenfinch shelter on the edges of the raised leek bed. All around them the hedges and tall foliage are battered to and fro with the raging gale. The wind is too strong for them to even reach the bird feeder which is tied securely to it's post. I feel I should put some food on the ground for them but I know that by doing so my presence will make them fly, when they need to conserve what little energy they have."

Later that day..

"More house sparrows, perhaps 8 came and sheltered together in the tumbled down sweetpeas for the rest of the day, I am so very glad I had not cleared the sweetpeas away. They were joined by 7 greenfinches, the most I have seen at one time in my garden, the greenfinches spent much of their time bobbing up and down on the branches of the buddleia bush".


Our Greenfinch photographs

Greenfinch juvenile
Greenfinch male



adult feeding fledgling


sheltering from a gale




  • Greenfinch
  • Carduelis chloris:
  • UK: Summer 695 territories BTO
  • UK: Resident breeder, winter visitor
  • WI: Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs)
  • Breeding: Nests in trees or bushes. 2 broods of 4-5 eggs. Mostly resident. (Some northernmost birds migrate further south). Europe, South-west Asia, North Africa (introduced to New Zealand).
  • Habitat: Mostly close to man. Thick vegetation. Open woodland, arable or pasture farmland, gardens.
  • Diet: Seeds: inc rose-hips, cereal grain, some invertebrates. Insects for nestlings
  • Large (14-16cm) chunky finch. Mainly olive-green (yellow in wings & tail). Female & juveniles duller. Brownish backs. Bill very thick, conical. Male display flight butterfly-like. Sociable & squabbles. Often forms flocks(up to 40 birds) with other finches (& buntings) outside of breeding season
  • Max recorded age 12 yrs, typical lifespan 2 yrs
  • Listen to a Greenfinch (RSPB site). Song wheezes & liquid twitters.
  • Similar birds: Siskin


The majority of the Greenfinch in the UK are resident, but some birds migrate south to continental Europe. Most of the UK's incoming winter visitors are from Norway.


Two or more finches are called a charm.

A fledgling is a young bird from the time it first leaves the nest until it is independent of the care of it's parents.


Greenfinch records in the Western Isles

Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


There are breeding records of Greenfinch from plantations and other pockets of woodland across the Western Isles. Greenfinch seen here in areas outside of their breeding environment are likely to be passage migrants.

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Greenfinch is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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