© Martin Grimm

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes Linnaeus (1758)

A large and powerful finch. With their massive beak even able to crack cherry stones.
Both sexes coloured in multiple brown tones, black wings with metallic-blue decorative plume. All colours are duller in females. Juveniles lack the dark mask also body feathers are dark spotted. In flight wings show conspicuous white bars, the tail a broad white terminal band.

Natural History:
The Hawfinch is widespread in Europe, Palearctic Asia and North Africa. It feeds on seeds, pits and insects.
Despite its conspicuous shape and size, they are often overlooked, as it is usually found in tree tops.
Two calls are frequently heard, a sharp, polyphonic TSII and a powerful, penetrating PIX, both of which can also be heard in flight.
The flight call TSII shows a striking variation over the whole distribution area but further research has to be done.
The song is a succession of call-like elements, often stretched in various ways intermingled with quiet, fast sequences of ‘whispered’ elements. The song also is often not recognised by birders due to its unobtrusive character.

Hawfinches are both regular and irregular migratory birds. Migratory movements decrease from Northern to Southern populations. Hawfinches migrate both during the day and at night. Depending on the availability of food, invasions with large flocks can occur.

Hawfinches form larger groups in winter, especially during invasions, but are rarely seen on bird feeders.

Coccothraustes coccothraustes coccothraustes
-> Europe to C Siberia and N Mongolia
Coccothraustes coccothraustes buvryi
-> NW Africa
Coccothraustes coccothraustes nigricans
-> S Ukraine, the Caucasus, NE Turkey and N Iran
Coccothraustes coccothraustes humii
-> S Kazakhstan and E Uzbekistan to NE Afghanistan
Coccothraustes coccothraustes shulpini
-> SE Siberia, NE China and Korea
Coccothraustes coccothraustes japonicus
-> Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin and Kuril Island and Japan

Object of study: Call types, dialects

Known flight call types (Not formally described so far):

Hawfinch Coccothraustes c. coccothraustes, flight call
PFR00910, 11/05/2009, Greifswalder Oie, Germany, Patrick Franke
Hawfinch Coccothraustes c. coccothraustes, flight call
PFR07799, 24/05/2013, Chuluut Gol, Mongolia, Patrick Franke
Hawfinch Coccothraustes c. coccothraustes, flight call
PFR10620, 16/03/2015, Werdau, Germany, Patrick Franke
Hawfinch Coccothraustes c. coccothraustes, flight call
PFR10628, 06/12/2016, Mainhardt, Germany, Patrick Franke

FiRN Needs: Sound recordings from the entire distribution
area would be appreciated.

email Patrick