Fringilla Coelebs, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 318 (1760) ; Naum. v. p. 13. pl, 118, figs. 1, 2 ; Hewitson, i. p. 192, pl. xlix. fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 187 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 34 ; Newton, ii. p. 68 ; Dresser, iv. p. 3, pl. 182 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 171 ; Saunders, p. 183 ; Lilford, iv. p. 36, pl. 19.
Pinson ordinaire, French ; Tentilhao, Portug. ; Pinzon, Span. ; Fringuello, Ital. ; Buchfink, German ; Virik, Dutch ; Bogfinke, Dan. and Norweg. ; Bofink, Swed. ; Peipponen, Finn. ; Ziablik, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Forehead black ; crown, nape, and sides of the neck rich slaty blue ; back dull chestnut-red ; rump yellowish green ; quills dull dark brown, externally margined with greenish white, the inner secondaries margined with fulvous, the median coverts almost pure white, the lesser and scapulars plumbeous ; middle tail-feathers blackish grey, indistinctly edged with white, the rest black, with broad white patches on the two outer ones ; cheeks, throat, and under parts rich reddish brown, paler on the lower abdomen ; bill bluish plumbeous ; legs dull brown ; iris hazel. Culmen 0.55, wing 3.45, tail 3.0, tarsus 0.75 inch. In the winter the colours are duller, the feathers on the head and nape have brownish margins, and the under parts are paler. The female has the head and back dull brown, the crown darker, the under parts dull greyish brown, with a reddish tinge, the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts dirty white.
Hab. Europe generally, but not common north of the Arctic circle ; east to Western Siberia, Persia, and Turkestan ; North Africa in winter.
Frequents groves, gardens, and plantations. Is quick and active in its movements, and is as a rule by no means shy. Its song though short is loud, melodious, and exultant, in England at least being regarded as a good harbinger of returning spring, for the birds begin singing immediately on the cessation of frost and cold. It feeds chiefly on insects during the, summer, and on seeds and berries at other seasons, and may be reckoned amongst the farmer’s and gardener’s best friends. It breeds in April or May, placing its neat little nest on the bough of a tree, but seldom in a hedge ; it is constructed of grass-bents, rootlets, moss, lichens, and fine bark-strips, carefully lined with wool, hair, or feathers. The eggs 4 to 6 in number are purplish grey, clouded with rufous, washed with green, and spotted and blotched with dark red, and measure about 0.77 by 0.56. Occasional varieties are pale blue, faintly marked with purple, and finely spotted with dark brown.
450. Fringilla cAelebs