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Conservation status: Red

The UK's largest finch, it has a massive, powerful bill. Always shy and difficult to see, the hawfinch has become even more enigmatic in recent years with a decline in many of its traditional breeding areas. Numbers are hard to determine, however, as hawfinches are easily overlooked, especially in summer.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Coccothraustes coccothraustes

Family

Finches (Fringillidae)

Where to see them

Hawfinches are now mostly restricted to England in the UK, and have declined in many areas. Parts of western England near the Welsh Borders, the Home Counties and the south-east from Hampshire to Kent remain the most likely places to find them. They can occasionally be seen at RSPB nature reserves such as Nagshead, Gloucestershire and Blean Woods, Kent. Hawfinches may perch high in trees, but also feed on the ground and much more inconspicuously among the foliage.

When to see them

All year round; usually more easily seen outside the breeding season when trees are leafless and hawfinches feed more regularly on the ground.

What they eat

Seeds, buds and shoots.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-500-1,000 pairs10-15,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

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