Fringilla montifringilla (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Passeriformes > Fringillidae
A winter visitor to Britain & Ireland, Bramblings arrive in large numbers from Fennoscandia during the autumn and often join flocks of other finches.
An attractive bird, the Brambling can be a very welcome visitor to gardens. Bramblings will readily feed on the ground under the feeders, when their autumn-coloured plumage merges with fallen leaves so they can be hard to spot.
This is a species that can form impressively large flocks during the winter months, sometimes reaching many hundreds in the UK. However these numbers are dwarfed by record-breaking flocks of millions that have been encountered elsewhere in Europe. Such flocks are a beautiful sight in late winter as birds assume the contrasting oranges and black of summer plumage.
Brambling identification is often straightforward. The following article may help when identifying Brambling.
Chaffinch is one of our most common and familiar birds, but young birds and females are harder to identify than the stunning males. In winter, Chaffinches are joined by their northern cousins, Brambling. How can you pick them out in the midst of Chaffinches?
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Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Brambling, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
Autumn arrivals of Bramblings from their Fennoscandian breeding grounds vary in number from year to year. In good years they are widely distributed through most of England, Wales and south, central and eastern Scotland. In Ireland they are much less widespread, being found in only 32% of 10-km squares compared to 71% in Britain. Abundance is relatively high in northeast Scotland, the Southern Uplands, East Anglia and a band running from the Welsh Marches to the Isle of Wight. Most birds depart by April but every year a few birds linger and sing. Actual breeding events are very rare and possibly declining.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season
|% occupied in breeding season
|No. occupied in winter
|% occupied in winter
European Distribution Map
Since the 1981–84 Winter Atlas there have been apparent range expansions of 21% in Britain and 53% in Ireland. However, there are few discernible patterns in the gains and losses; this may be a consequence of birds responding to spatially variable food supplies and increased use of gardens, especially when natural food is limiting.
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.
Lifecycle and body size information about Brambling, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing
|8 years 7 months 16 days (set in 1983)
|90.8±3.3 | Range 85–96mm, N=10690
|90.2±3.2 | Range 85-95mm, N=3090
|92.8±2.2 | Range 89–96mm, N=6519
|87.6±2.1 | Range 84–91mm, N=4159
|24.5±2.25 | Range 21.1–28.5g, N=9751
|23.3±2.441 | Range 19.5–27.5g, N=2814
|25.1±2.13 | Range 22.0–29.0g, N=5945
|23.5±2.03 | Range 20.5–27.0g, N=3794
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|2-letter: BL | 5-letter code: BRAMB | Euring: 16380
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Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com
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