Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes


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 2,600,000-5,070,000 pairs, which equates to 5,200,000-10,100,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).  Europe forms c.50% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 10,400,000-20,200,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 showed a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).


This species prefers broadleaved forest, in particular oak-hornbeam, and also mixed forest.  Besides more natural forests it also occupies parks and gardens, Prunus (cherry) orchards and olive groves in some areas of its range.  In the drier southern parts of its range it inhabits steppe-woodlands and thorn thickets.  It breeds up to 1,300 m in central Europe and up to 2,200 m asl in the Caucasus (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Calladine and Morrison 2010, Clement and Christie 2016). 

The breeding season is between the end of March and mid-August.  The species is monogamous, forming pair-bonds for more than one year.  It occasionally breeds in small colonies.  The nest is built by both parents, in a tree up to 14 m.  The clutch size is normally three to five eggs but may be even larger in some areas with optimal habitat conditions.  The eggs are incubated by the female for 11–13 days. The chicks are reared by both parents and leave the nest after 11–13 days and become independent after about 30 days (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Tomiałojć 2012, Clement and Christie 2016).  The diet of the species consists predominantly of seeds, buds and shoots of trees and shrubs.  In particular the nestlings are fed by small invertebrates.  Food is collected at all levels in trees and also on the ground (Clement and Christie 2016).  The species is resident and migratory.  Asian populations are largely migratory whereas in northern and central Europe the species is sedentary, locally dispersive or partially migratory (Clement and Christie 2016).


Generally there is no evidence for substantial threats at least within its European range. Since the 1990s the species has expanded its European range.  Declines in some countries are possibly related to destruction of deciduous forest, removal of old orchards and increased predation (BirdLife International 2015, Clement and Christie 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species was added to the British list of Birds of Conservation Concern in 2009 (Eaton et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Further research is needed to determine the factors which are affecting this species and then identify potential management methods to counter these (Eaton et al. 2009).


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Coccothraustes coccothraustes. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/02/2024.