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Alternative name: Teydefinch
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.
There are 2 subspecies:
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.
During the breeding season pairs establish and defend territories, generally much smaller on Tenerife than Gran Canaria.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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