Chloris chloris

Identified by its distinctive yellow wing patches and wheezing call, the Greenfinch is a common garden bird throughout the United Kingdom.



Female Greenfinch

Female Greenfinch

Greenfinch feeding on sunflower seeds

Greenfinch feeding on sunflower seeds

Greenfinch in-flight

Greenfinch in-flight

Appearance & Identification

What do Greenfinches look like?

The Greenfinch is a small, stout bird with a cone-shaped bill and a forked tail. Males, in particular, live up to their common and scientific name (Chloris means greenish-yellow) with an olive-green overall appearance. Both sexes have yellow stripes along the sides of the tail and wings.

Males aren’t all green. They have brownish backs and large grey patches on their flanks, wings, rump, tail, and cheeks. Their bill and legs are pinkish, and they have small dark eyes.

Female Greenfinches are similar to males but duller overall with a greyer bill and back. They have little to no green plumage, being generally brown and grey with yellow on their wings and tail. Faint yellowish plumage is often present around the eyes, shoulder, lower back, and belly.

Juveniles appear similar to adult females but have a more streaked appearance, particularly on the breast, belly, and mantle.

Greenfinches are most likely to be confused with the smaller Siskin. Read this comparison guide to learn how to tell them apart.

<p><strong>Greenfinch Male</strong></p>

Greenfinch Male

<p><strong>Greenfinch Female</strong></p>

Greenfinch Female

How big are Greenfinches?

Greenfinches are small songbirds about the size of the House Sparrow.


Adults measure 15 to 16 centimetres from tail tip to bill.


These birds weigh 17 to 34 grams, with an average weight of about 27.5 grams or just under an ounce.


The typical wingspan is approximately 26 centimetres. Although unnoticeable, males have slightly longer wings on average.

Greenfinch sitting in a conifer tree

Greenfinch sitting in a conifer tree

Calls & Sounds

What sound does a Greenfinch make?

Greenfinches produce various short, sharp calls in alarm or to maintain contact. However, their most characteristic calls are a rising ‘juwee’ alarm call made by both sexes and the males wheezy ‘dzeeeer’ territorial call with a slightly mechanical quality.

Males produce a variable song with warbled, trilled, and buzzed notes, typically from a high perch or during display flight. Listen out for this pleasant but disjointed song from January to the end of summer and particularly from March to July.

Greenfinch perching on top of a moss-covered post

Greenfinch perching on top of a moss-covered post


What do Greenfinches eat?

Greenfinches are primarily vegetarian, although they will feed on insects in the warmer months. These birds forage everywhere from the ground to upper tree branches for seeds, flowers, buds, and fruits of a great many plant species, including bramble, yew, and rosehip.

What do Greenfinch chicks eat?

Greenfinch chicks eat insects and regurgitated seeds provided by both parents. They are fed in the nest for 14 to 18 days and then for a further two weeks after fledging.

Do Greenfinches use bird feeders?

Greenfinches regularly visit bird feeders where their somewhat pugnacious attitude can make for entertaining viewing. They are seed-eating birds that enjoy everything from peanut hearts to niger seeds.

Read this guide to learn more about the Greenfinch diet and what you can feed them in your garden.

Greenfinch adult feeding its young

Greenfinch adult feeding its young

Habitat & Distribution

What is the habitat of a Greenfinch?

Greenfinches use various habitats, including suburban gardens, farmland, woodland, plantations, and orchards. They avoid treeless, high-altitude environments in the United Kingdom.

What is the range of a Greenfinch?

Six Greenfinch subspecies are distributed across Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. These birds occupy most of Europe, except for the far north. They are widespread in the United Kingdom and Ireland, absent only from high-lying regions of Wales and Scotland.

Where do Greenfinches live?

Greenfinches have adapted very well to human-altered environments like farmland, suburban areas, and even parks and gardens in urban centres. While they still occupy wilder habitats like forests and woodlands, much of the UK Greenfinch population now live alongside us in villages and towns.

How rare are Greenfinches?

Greenfinch populations have varied drastically over the last 50 years, but the net result is a serious decline of nearly 70%. They are still common resident birds, with an estimated population of approximately 785,000 pairs in 2016.

Where can you see Greenfinches in the UK?

Greenfinches are widespread in the UK, and many birdwatchers may not even need to leave their home to see these common garden birds. However, an outing to a wooded park, local woodland, or farmland with hedgerows may also be productive.

Greenfinch in woodland habitat

Greenfinch in woodland habitat

Lifespan & Predation

How long do Greenfinches live?

Greenfinches have a typical lifespan of just two years, although the record stands at over eleven years for a wild bird.

What are the predators of Greenfinches?

Greenfinches are vulnerable to various small carnivores, ranging from birds of prey like the Sparrowhawk to mammals like Foxes and Domestic Cats. Rats, Magpies, Jackdaws, and Gulls prey on their eggs and chicks.

Are Greenfinches protected?

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects Greenfinches in the United Kingdom.

Are Greenfinches endangered?

Greenfinches are a ‘Least Concern’ species on the IUCN Red List, and their populations are thought to be stable. While they appear safe globally, these birds suffered drastic declines in the United Kingdom during the mid-2000s and are now red-listed here.

Why is the Greenfinch endangered?

Greenfinch populations in the UK suffered due to an outbreak of a parasite-caused disease called Trichomonosis. The disease causes damage to the back of the throat, resulting in difficulty in feeding and drinking and, ultimately, death from starvation.

This parasite can be spread from one infected bird to another when they share food at bird feeders, so good hygiene and regular disinfection are essential at bird tables and feeders.

Greenfinch in suburban garden

Greenfinch in suburban garden

Nesting & Breeding

Where do Greenfinches nest?

Greenfinches build their nests within dense vegetation like conifers, hedges and large shrubs. Pairs may nest alone or in colonies with others nearby. The female constructs a cup-shaped nest from plant material like grasses, twigs, and moss.

When do Greenfinches nest?

Greenfinches produce two broods each year, typically beginning in March and ending by August. Check out our complete guide to Greenfinch nesting to learn much more.

What do Greenfinch eggs look like?

Greenfinches usually lay four to six lightly blotched and speckled eggs with a pale brown, greyish, or blueish background colour. Their eggs measure about 15 millimetres wide and 20 millimetres long.

Do Greenfinches mate for life?

Greenfinches select a new partner each year. They are generally monogamous, although males may mate with up to five females.

<p><strong>Nest of a Greenfinch with six eggs</strong></p>

Nest of a Greenfinch with six eggs

<p><strong>Greenfinch chicks in their nest</strong></p>

Greenfinch chicks in their nest


Are Greenfinches aggressive?

Quarrelsome around feeders, the Greenfinch will fight with other birds, including its own kind, around bird feeders and other food sources. Away from food, they are non-territorial and may nest in loose colonies. They are particularly gregarious in winter when flocks of over a hundred may be seen.

Where do Greenfinches sleep at night?

Greenfinches sleep in trees, hedges, and large bushes that provide protection from ground predators and the elements. They roost communally in winter, sometimes in large flocks.

Flock of Greenfinches feeding together

Flock of Greenfinches feeding together


Do Greenfinches migrate?

Greenfinches are present throughout the year in the United Kingdom, and most do not move more than about 12 miles or 20 kilometres. However, they are migratory elsewhere in their range, and the local population is joined by birds from northern Europe each winter.

Are Greenfinches native to the UK?

Greenfinches are native to the United Kingdom. They were introduced outside their natural range in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Greenfinch during the cold winter months

Greenfinch during the cold winter months


How do I attract Greenfinches to my garden?

Greenfinches are regular visitors to garden bird feeders, where they relish sunflower seeds and peanuts. You can also attract these boisterous back-garden birds by setting up a birdbath or other shallow water features for drinking and bathing.

Greenfinches are particularly vulnerable to a parasitic disease known as Trichomonosis, which spreads easily at bird feeders. Replacing old food and cleaning your bird feeder regularly with disinfectant can help to curb the spread and keep your garden birds happy and healthy.

Enjoyed this content? Share it now

Quick Facts


Scientific name:

Chloris chloris

Other names:

European Greenfinch



Conservation status:




15cm to 16cm




17g to 34g

Learn more about the Greenfinch

Similar birds to a Greenfinch

Other birds in the Finches family

Get the best of Birdfact

Brighten up your inbox with our exclusive newsletter, enjoyed by thousands of people from around the world.

Your information will be used in accordance with Birdfact's privacy policy. You may opt out at any time.

© 2024 - Birdfact. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.