Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)


[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Coccothraustes coccothraustes | [UK] Hawfinch | [FR] Gros-bec casse-noyaux | [DE] Kernbeisser | [ES] Pepitero Comun | [NL] Appelvink


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Eophona coccothraustes
Coccothraustes coccothraustes EU widespread, also n Africa
Coccothraustes coccothraustes buvryi
Coccothraustes coccothraustes coccothraustes
Coccothraustes coccothraustes humii
Coccothraustes coccothraustes japonicus
Coccothraustes coccothraustes nigricans
Coccothraustes coccothraustes schulpini

Physical charateristics

Very large, huge-bill, big-headed, short-tailed, short-legged finch, bigger than all other common finches of temperate woodlands. Adult plumage warm buff, with bill blue-grey in breeding season, yellow in winter, emphasized by black lore and bib, grey nape, brown back, black flight-feathers boldly panelled white on larger coverts and across primaries, and white-tipped tail.
Sexes dissimilar at close range, little seasonal variation.

Listen to the sound of Hawfinch


Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 29 cm wingspan max.: 33 cm
size min.: 16 cm size max.: 18 cm
incubation min.: 11 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Eurasia : widespread, also North Africa


Breed in west Palearctic in lowland and hilly temperate zone, and parts of boreal, Mediterranean, and steppe zones, continental and to lesser extent oceanic. Most characteristically a specialist bird of natural open mixed oak and hornbeam forest, but extends freely to most other tall deciduous trees which carry large fruits within handling capacity of massive bill, especially beech, ash, wych elm, and sycamore or maple.
Accordingly mainly found in crowns and forest canopy, liking to perch on topmost twigs.


From first half of April to end of July in Britain, laying begins last April or early May in former USSR, March-April in Greece, Italy and Spain, end March to end May in North Africa. In building Nest sites, prefers old, shrubby trees, especially oak and fruit trees.
Nest is a bulky foundation of dry twigs, distinct from 2nd layer of thin twiglets and blades of grass in which cup with soft plant matter is shaped. Cup shallow, composed of roots and strong grass, twigs, dry moss, and lichen.
4-5 eggs are laid with an incubation period of 11-13 days, done by female only.

Feeding habits

Large hard seeds, buds, and shoots of trees and shrubs, invertebrates, especially caterpillars, in breeding season. In spring and summer, forages mainly in woodland trees, in autumn and winter, in hedges and on ground.


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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.
Coccothraustes coccothraustes is a widespread breeder across much of Europe, which
accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding
population is very large (>2,400,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990.
Although there were declines in a few countries during 1990-2000, populations were
stable or increased across the vast majority of Europe, and the species remained
stable overall.
Hawfinch status Least Concern


Sedentary to migratory, northern populations migrate more than southern ones.
Juveniles migrate more than adults, and females more than males. Migration mostly diurnal, but nocturnal also reported.
European migrants head between West and South, wintering chiefly within breeding range, numbers fluctuate markedly from year to year. Makes local feeding movements in wide variety of directions. Longer movements are probably associated primarily with food availability.

Distribution map

Hawfinch distribution range map

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