[order] Passeriformes | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Fringilla montifringilla | [UK] Brambling | [FR] Pinson du Nord | [DE] Bergfink | [ES] Pinzón Real | [IT] Peppola | [NL] Keep

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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.

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.

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.

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 a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 25,000,000-43,000,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

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

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.

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