Do Bullfinches Migrate?

If you are a fan of finches, then you must love the beautiful little bullfinch which has been coming into our gardens throughout the year, although less regularly in recent times, as sadly, the number of these wonderful little birds seems to be declining from our grey and foggy island.

You can usually spot them in woodlands, orchards, and hedgerows, so, if you have a garden in the countryside, have a lookout for one as you’ll be in for a treat!

If you can’t see one, perhaps you can hear one as they are quite distinctive with their quiet and mournful warbling.

If you’re lucky enough to spot one out there, you’ll probably be blown away by the males’ bright pink underparts and blackheads, whereas the females are more greyish. They can also be recognised by their forked tails and pointed wings.

And did you know that there’s actually more than one species of bullfinch?

In Britain, we have our very own British bullfinch who tends to stay here all year round, whereas the Eurasian bullfinch is more flighty and likes to migrate further south in the cold months.  

This sturdy, shy little bird is thinly distributed across the whole of the UK except the far northwest of Scotland, which seems to tell us that this little chap can feel the cold after all!

A sad thing to tell you, though, about this chappie is that there’s been a 36% reduction of the British bullfinch since the 1960s so that it’s now an amber conservation status…

Not great news – perhaps they got fed up with the weather?

What I love about this bird is that they stay in pairs throughout the year and are definitely family chappies, which is fabulous compared to other finches who tend to be quite fickle and abandon each other after breeding. Enough said.

The British bullfinch male doesn’t love ‘em and leave ‘em though but tends to stay and find a home for his woman instead of flying south…

So, to answer the question, do bullfinches migrate? They do, but depending on the type – the good old British bullfinch is resident in ol’ Blighty all year round! Yay!

3 thoughts on “Do Bullfinches Migrate?”

  1. A pair of bullfinches visit the feeders our garden, in the middle of Dublin, every day. They love shelled sunflower seeds! They are almost always together.

  2. (Sheffield) I have bullfinches on my feeders all year round, eating black sunflower seed. At nesting time – May/June – they become less frequent, but they bring their young to the feeding station when they fledge. By October we have a larger feeding-flock – as I write, there are about 8-10 out there – which includes Eurasian ones who appear in winter. They’re a slightly different colour, and will disappear in April, at the same time as the bramblings and the siskins.

  3. I was delighted to see a family of 4 bullfinches eating the small yellow poppy seeds in our garden, last year and this. We had to draw curtains to stop the youngsters flying into our windows. Really glad our garden isn’t too tidy!


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