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Blue Chaffinch

From Opus

Alternative name: Teydefinch

Fringilla teydea

Contents

[edit] Identification

14-16cm

  • Pale grey bill
  • Greyish wing bars

Breeding male

  • Greyish-blue head and mantle
  • Light grey breast, throat and flanks
  • White undertail Coverts

Female

  • Brownish-grey upperparts
  • Greyish-white below
FemalePhoto by FernandoTenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, July 2009
Female
Photo by Fernando
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, July 2009

[edit] Distribution

Found almost exclusively in the Pinus canariensis forests of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. On Tenerife the population is probably over 1000 pairs and is stable or even increasing due to reforestation. On Gran Canaria, where deforestation was much more drastic, the population is lower and there may only be 185 individual birds, restricted to the Ojeda, Inagua, Pajonales and maybe Tamadaba pine forests.

The best place to observe the Blue Chaffinch is at the Las Lajas picnic site about 10 km from Vilaflor on Tenerife.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies[1]

There are 2 subspecies:

[edit] Habitat

It has colonised non-native pine forests on Tenerife and is even found in mixed pine and laurel forests. Outside the breeding season small flocks are wide-ranging with sightings recorded from upland scrub, chestnut forest and even orchards.

[edit] Behaviour

During the breeding season pairs establish and defend territories, generally much smaller on Tenerife than Gran Canaria.

[edit] Diet

Feeding occurs mostly on the ground, often in the company of Common Chaffinches and African Blue Tits.

The blue chaffinch feeds mostly on pine seeds but also takes other seeds and forest fruits and even figs. Insects such as beetles and butterflies are also taken but make up only a small proportion of the diet.

[edit] Breeding

The breeding season begins late with the first clutch laid in late April, May or early June. The nest is placed on a side branch high up in pine trees although occasionally other trees are used. The clutch, of which two per season have been reported, is of two greenish-blue eggs with brownish of purplish markings.

[edit] Vocalisation

While mostly silent, the call is a double chirp and the song a double trill sounding something like Tschin-tin-tiui Vi-vi-vi-vi-vi.

[edit] History

The blue chaffinch has suffered hugely from unscrupulous collecting by early ornithologists. One, the Austrian Rudolph Von Thanner, is known to have shot 122 blue chaffinches on Tenerife and 76 on Gran Canaria at the beginning of the 20th Century.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728

[edit] External Links

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