European Greenfinch - Carduelis chloris in silver birch tree

Breeding season begins for the European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), in April.
The mail greenfinch takes on its colorful breeding plumage and begins its elegant, undulating flight, part of the courtship behavior.

I've spotted a pair of European Greenfinch perched high on the silver birch tree, in front of my window. I rushed to fetch my camera but the female was already gone.
European Greenfinch mail - Carduelis chloris

Appearance - display

The plumage of the adult male greenfinch in breeding season is olive-green washed yellow over its underparts and its face. Its upper-wings are darker grey with a bright yellow leading edge on its wing primaries. The same bright yellow feathers are visible on its undertail.
Greenfinch mail in breeding plumage - Carduelis chloris
The head of the greenfinch is olive-green with a pale grey patch on head-sides, and a pale grey collar on the foreneck. It has a powerful, conical bill and dark brown eyes. Legs and feet are pinkish with relative long, curved claws. The hen is duller, with a browner overall coloration.


This bird is widespread throughout Europe, north Africa and south west Asia.
Green finch mail - side view showing yellow underpart
The common, sparrow size bird is a regular garden visitor in rural and urban gardens, in parks and in orchards, being adapted to human presence.


These birds are mainly seed eaters, the favorite ingredient of their menu being the sunflower seeds. They also take fat seeds of several other plants, berries and small insects for their babies, during the nesting period.
European Greenfinch and house sparrows in a tree

Courtship rituals

During the breeding season the male displays a specific flight with slow wing beats alternated with glides with closed wings.
To attract a mate, the greenfinch mail repeats continuously its sharp twittering and wheezing song, very similar to that of a canary.

Click to listen to the greenfinch call!
The mail's song could be a warning off competition as well. This silver birch is sparrow territory, but now, with the greenfinch on top of the tree, the noisy sparrows are sitting quietly on lowers branches.

Have a look at three new House Martin baby birds in the nest.


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