Belongs to: finches & buntings

Compare with: chaffinch

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

BoCC Amber list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Handsome finch with a fatal taste for fruit buds, as a result of which it has been persecuted

Habitat: woodland or thick hedgerows, sometimes large gardens

Widespread resident, but in long term decline


Portly, bull-necked birds with black cap and tail, white rump and, in the male, bright pink breast; 14–15 cm

Shy birds, often seen in pairs or families and believed to mate for life; soft 'heu' call usually gives them away 

Feeds on seeds and berries and, in late winter/early spring, buds of fruit trees; feeds caterpillars to young


Nest of twigs, moss and lichen in a thick hedge or other dense cover

2, sometimes 3, broods May to July; 4–6 blue-green eggs, spotted purple

Pairs are usually seen together and are believed to mate for life

© Alan Williams

© Russell Wills