All About Greenfinches - Greenfinch Bird Facts & Information

About Greenfinch bird (Carduelis Chloris)

Native to Northern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, the Greenfinch is a popular site across the globe and in the UK, including Northern Scotland, we are lucky enough to have the Greenfinch grace us with its presence all year round in our gardens.

Carduelis Chloris, the scientific name of these garden birds, are mostly dull olive green in plumage (as their name suggests) with a greenish yellow breast and bright yellow wing flashes (individual birds across areas may be different shades of green and yellow!), and they have a forked tail and a sturdy beak perfect for eating bird seed.

These birds are on the red list as there has been a recent decline in numbers due to the spread of a disease.

From early autumn until spring, Greenfinches form feeding flocks and become gregarious.


What do Greenfinches look like?

Greenfinches have predominantly green plumage, particularly noticeable on their back and wings. Their underparts are typically a lighter shade of green or yellow, with a yellowish hue on the breast and belly. Visible in flight, they have a dark band running across their wings.

Females and young Greenfinches have less yellow in their plumage compared to adult males. The young also have a streaked plumage.

They are approximately 15 centimetres in length, with a wingspan of about 25-29 centimetres. (About the same size and House Sparrows!)

Greenfinches have a compact and stocky build with a relatively short tail feathers compared to other finches. Their wings are rounded. They have a relatively large head with a stout, conical beak, which is well adapted for cracking open seeds.


Do Greenfinches migrate?

No, Greenfinch species are resident birds and do not migrate across long distances like other birds do. If their food source become unavailable in the area they are in, they will move short distance, they will only move because of habitat loss and food shortage.

Some do travel further and spend winter in continental Europe.

Are Greenfinches rare?

Greenfinches are not considered rare and they are common UK birds, however, a recent severe outbreak of a disease and habitat loss Greenfinch numbers have seen a rapid decline in recent years and they are now red on the UK conservation status.


Greenfinches Habitats

Found in a range of spots across the UK, Greenfinches live in woodlands and forest edges so that they can forage in open areas with near by protection.

Grasslands and open fields with wildflowers and tall grass is also another favourite spot for the Greenfinch species. The wildflowers attract them as this provides seeds and insects to eat.

Greenfinches are also a common garden bird and where there is food available on garden feeding stations, they will be found in suburban and urban gardens.

Greenfinch lifespan

The Greenfinch species has a lifespan of up to two years, with breeding taking place at around one year.


Greenfinch breeding season

The Greenfinch breeding season starts in mid March and goes until mid August but they will begin to pair in late February.

Each season, the Greenfinch will lay a clutch size of around four to five grey eggs. The female bird will incubate these eggs on her own for two weeks. Once hatched, the young birds will stay in the nest for up to two weeks and then fledge.

Where do Greenfinches nest?

When the female Greenfinches begin nesting they look for dense hedges and evergreen shrubs or dense trees and will begin to build a cup nest made of plant stems, moss, twigs and grass.

If you have thick hedges or bushes in your gardens, try not to cut these back around the breeding season as there may be baby Greenfinches hiding in them.

If you have one Greenfinch nesting in your gardens, you'll tend to have two or three as they nest in loose colonies.


Greenfinch Nesting box

As most nest boxes are made for cavity nesters, Greenfinches do not usually use them, as they build nests within the thick hedges. If you do want to encourage Greenfinches into your garden, don't cut back or trim your hedges throughout breeding season.

If your hedges are trimmed, they are unlikely to nest.


What do Greenfinches eat?

Primarily seed eaters, the Greenfinches diet consists of mainly seeds, including black sunflower seeds, thistles and dandelions. They love oil rich seeds and when breeding starts they will also eat small insects for additional protein.

You'll also find Greenfinches eating seeds from fleshy fruits such as rose hips.

What feeders do Greenfinches like?

If you're looking to feed Greenfinches are attracted to garden feeders that provide easy access to seeds and offer a secure perch for feeding. Among the favoured feeder types are hopper feeders and hanging feeders.

Tube feeders equipped with small feeding ports are suitable for dispensing nyjer seeds and other small seeds, enabling greenfinches to cling onto the feeder while extracting their preferred seeds.

Another popular option is platform feeders, which feature a flat surface for seed placement. These feeders accommodate Greenfinches by providing a stable platform for feeding, allowing them to land easily and enjoy their meal.

What do Greenfinches feed their young?

Greenfinches primarily feed their young a diet consisting of insects during the initial stages of their development.

As the chicks grow, the parents gradually introduce seeds into their diet. Initially, the diet may consist mainly of soft bodied insects, such as caterpillars, which are rich in protein and essential nutrients needed for the rapid growth of the chicks.

As the chicks mature, the parents begin to incorporate seeds into their diet, transitioning them to the adult diet of primarily seeds.

How to attract Greenfinches to your garden?

Provide them with appropriate food on your bird tables. Greenfinches are seed eaters so it is important to offer a variety of seeds.

Add a fresh water source to your garden. This can be a bird bath or a bowl of water, just make sure it is cleaned regularly.

These birds prefer areas where they have shelter that they can retreat to if they feel unsafe, so plant dense shrubs, trees, or bushes in your garden to provide shelter and nesting sites for greenfinches.

It may take some time for greenfinches to discover and become accustomed to your garden feeding stations. Be patient and consistent in providing food, water, and shelter, and eventually, they may become regular visitors.


Five facts about greenfinches

  1. Male Greenfinches have vibrant green plumage on their backs and wings, with bright yellow flashes on their wings and tails. This striking coloration makes them a beautiful sight in gardens and woodlands.

  2. Greenfinches have a distinctive, melodic song consisting of repetitive phrases and trills. Their vocalisations are often described as cheerful and lively, adding to the ambiance of the areas they inhabit.

  3. Greenfinches are social birds that often gather in flocks, especially during the non-breeding season. These flocks can consist of dozens of individuals, which may join forces to forage for food or roost together.

  4. Greenfinches are highly adaptable birds found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, parks, gardens, and farmland. They are known to visit bird feeders in urban and rural areas, making them a common sight for birdwatchers.

  5. During the breeding season, male Greenfinches perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females. These displays may include aerial acrobatics, singing, and they may spread out their chest feathers to display their colourful plumage.