Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs


Justification of Red List Category
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 increasing, 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.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 185,000,000-269,000,000 pairs, which equates to 371,000,000-537,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.70% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 530,000,000-767,000,000 mature individuals, although this estimate requires further validation.

Trend justification
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2013 was a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).


This species inhabits lowland and lower montane deciduous, mixed and conifer woods with a slight preference for beech (Fagus), hornbeam (Carpinus), mature oak (Quercus), spruce (Picea) and pine (Pinus). It also uses forest edges and glades, copses, heaths, edges of tundra and agricultural areas, hedgerows, orchards, parks and gardens. In the Canary Islands it is found in laurel (Lauraceae) forest and areas of dense vegetation and in the Moroccan High Atlas it is also found in Juniperus thurifera (Clement 2016). It breeds from mid-March to mid-July. The nest is placed up to 35 m above ground on a branch, against a trunk or in the fork of a tree or bush. It is a deep cup made of plant fibres, grass, fine roots, lichens, moss, bark strips, animal hair and feathers. Clutches are four to five eggs. The diet is varied and is mostly small invertebrates and their larvae, seeds and buds. The species is resident, partially migratory and migratory, with populations in the north and northeast moving south and southwest between mid-September and the end of November (Clement 2016).


Particularly in northern areas populations may fluctuate in response to weather conditions, with cold conditions resulting in temporary declines (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). The species is trapped in some parts of its range. In the Canary Islands the race palmae is threatened by forest fires, wood harvesting and predation by introduced mammals, while race ombriosa is threatened by forest fires, wood harvesting and drought (Madroño and González 2004).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Fringilla coelebs ombriosa is listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive. In the Canary Islands, both palmae and ombriosa have had much of their habitat protected as Natural and Special Protected Areas and the species has benefited from protection measures for other species (Madroño and González 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Across its European range this species is not threatened, however the races palmae and ombriosa in the Canary Islands are threatened. It has been recommended that a management plan be produced for these races, in addition to research on reproductive success, impacts of introduced predators and habitat selection. Regular monitoring should also be carried out (Madroño and González 2004).


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Fringilla coelebs. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/06/2022.