Portrait of a chaffinch perched on a branch (c) Graham Brownlow


Chaffinches are cheerful garden visitors that have been known to live for a remarkable 14 years. Males are recognisable for their pink cheeks and chest and blue-grey nape and crown; both sexes have distinctive white flashes on their wings. During winter European chaffinches migrate to Britain.

Curiously, it's typically the females that migrate as the males prefer to remain in northern Europe. These remaining lone males give rise to their Latin name "coelebs" meaning bachelor. Chaffinches are one of the most common birds in Britain, with almost six million breeding pairs. Their distinctive, jangling songs vary from bird to bird, and there are even regional dialects in different parts of the UK.

Scientific name: Fringilla coelebs

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (4 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Chaffinch taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Chaffinch can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Chaffinch distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Finches
  7. Fringilla
  8. Chaffinch

BBC News about Chaffinch

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Garden birds Garden birds

    Nestcam close-ups, expert identification guides and specialist wildlife cameras give a privileged view of a very British obsession: garden birds.

Elsewhere on the BBC