GREENFINCH (Carduelis chloris)

Verdier d' Europe

 

 

The song of the Greenfinch is a series of complex trills and whistles, the basic note of which is a rapidly repeated "kip" sound, perhaps a bit reminiscent of a canary:

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This song may sound confusing but we can break it down into a few elements that are very distinctive and immediately identify this bird. One characteristic sound is a rather horrible nasal "tscheeeer", its hard to call it "song" as it is such an unmusical note. It can be made on its own when it sounds more like a call, but it is also included in song sequences.Cardueline finches seem to get calls and songs confused !

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This noise has a slight inflection so it is on a rising scale:

 
 Another characteristic sound is a sort of deep swirl that has a hockey-stick shape to it:
 
 
 You can hear it in this sequence:
 

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 Finally another distinctive phrase frequently used is a strong "chew-chew-chew":
 
 
 Listen for it here:
 

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So yes, a pretty complex and confusing set of phrases and songs, but a wonderful sound when it is all strung together. Here is a 2 minute sequence of a very excited male singing very rapidly and strong and using just about all of the phrases described above:

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This type of musical stream is usually delivered from an exposed perch so everyone is aware of its presence - but just in case someone loses attention then Greenfinches can also be seen singing in flight - during a song flight the wing beat is often slowed down and it flies in a very buoyant bouncy kind of manner.

BAD NEWS FOR ENGLISH GREENFINCHES

A recent Press Release from the British Trust for Ornithology points to a recent paper that concludes that  Greenfinch populations in England declined by 35% from 2006-2007, and that Chaffinch populations fell by 21% over the same period. The cause was an infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae. This is a parasite well known in pigeons but this seems to be the first record of a mass outbreak in finches. As many finches are migratory it will be interesting to see if this occurs in finches in continental Europe in the coming years.

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