Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)


[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Fringilla montifringilla | [UK] Brambling | [FR] Pinson du Nord | [DE] Bergfink | [ES] Pinzon Real | [NL] Keep


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Serinus montifringilla
Fringilla montifringilla EU widespread, also n Africa

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized, elegant finch, with general character and behaviour of Chaffinch and rather similar basic plumage pattern but different, less varied colors in male.
Both sexes show diagnostic combination of long, oval white rump and almost completely black tail. Male distinguished in breeding season by glossy black head and mantle, bordered by orange blaze from breast across shoulder and below back. In winter by black-speckled face and crown and black-splashed mantle.
Female and juvenile distinguished by mottled dark brown head, with broad buff supercilium and grey sides to neck.
Sexes dissimilar, marked seasonal variation in male.

Listen to the sound of Brambling


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 24 cm wingspan max.: 26 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 12 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 12 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 7  


Eurasia : widespread, also North Africa


Breeds across boreal and subarctic zones of west Palearctic. Owing to northerly range and arboreal requirements does not extend much up mountains, but is common on uplands in the more open birch woods, and in mixed forests of birch and conifers. Sometimes ranges beyond into lower growth of juniper, willow, or alder. Tall and dense stands in forest appear to be less favoured than open growth with clearings. Also found in riverine belts of willows.


Breeding mid May to mid June in Finland, laying starts second half of May in South, July in Northern Norway, late May to end of June in North West Russia, June -July in Scotland. The nest site is located high in tree, often against trunk of conifer or in fork of deciduous tree.
Nest is similar to that of Chaffinch but larger and more loosely built. Outer structure of moss, lichen, grass, heather, strips or juniper bark, and cobwebs, lined with feathers, moss, plant down, soft grass, hair, fur, and sometimes paper, string, etc.
3-8 eggs are laid with an incubation period of 11-12 days, done by female only

Feeding habits

Diet based on seeds, berries, and invertebrates, especially Lepidoptera and beetles. In winter quarters specializes in beechnuts. On breeding grounds feeds mainly in trees, but other times mostly on ground, commonly in flocks.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Fringilla montifringilla is a widespread breeder in Fennoscandia and northern Russia,
but also occurs very patchily farther south, with Europe accounting for less than half
of its global range. Its European breeding population is extremely large (>13,000,000
pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. This trend continued during 1990-2000,
with all European populations-including the key northern ones – remaining stable.
Brambling status Least Concern


All populations migratory, wintering almost entirely south of breeding range. European birds head between west and south, chiefly south-west. Extent of movement is strongly dependent on food availability (chiefly seed of beech); local numbers wintering fluctuate greatly, and concentrations of millions of birds occur, especially in south-central Europe. Ringing data give evidence of winter site-fidelity, but also of individuals wintering in widely differing areas in different years. Males predominate in areas closer to breeding range. Migration mostly diurnal (chiefly in morning), especially inland, but nocturnal migration observed on coasts and at sea.
Autumn passage in north-central Europe begins mostly in 2nd half of September, and continues to early or mid-November; peaks 1st half of October in Finland, Poland, and eastern Germany, from mid-October further west. Present in winter quarters chiefly November-February. Spring migration February-May. Males leave winter quarters earlier than females and arrive earlier on breeding grounds.

Distribution map

Brambling distribution range map

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