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16-18cm (6-7 in)
Breeds in southern Scotland and England and from the Pyrenees and western France to Denmark, southern Sweden and the Baltic States east to Russia and the Urals. In the south breeds in southern Iberia and North-West Africa in Morocco, north-east Algeria and north Tunisia. Also Corsica, Sardinia, and Italy, the Balkans, Greece and northern Turkey. Also breeds in the Crimea and Caucasus.
Northern and eastern populations are migratory leaving breeding areas in September-October, returning late March-early May. Elsewhere in range mainly resident or short-distance dispersal only. Winter range more widespread in western and southern Europe especially around the Mediterranean and a scarce winter visitor to the Balearics, Malta and Sicily, Crete and Cyprus and also in the Near East including Lebanon and Israel.
Widely distributed but generally uncommon.
There are 5 subspecies:
Usually occurs in mature deciduous or mixed woodland, often beech and hornbeam, up to 3000m. Also found in some areas in parks, large gardens and orchards. In winter may be seen in more open habitats, along hedgerows and woodland edges.
Often flocks after breeding.
Their diet consists of a wide variety of hard seeds, buds and shoots. They will also eat some fruit and invertebrates.
Flight strong and bounding usually at a height of around 50m. Looks front heavy and short-tailed.
Male's territorial flight is a like a bounding "roller-coaster", ending with a dive.
They are monogamous and the pair bond may last several seasons. The nest is usually high in a deciduous tree, in a fork or against the trunk.
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