top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Trilling finch thrills with aerial display

During mating season, a male greenfinch will take to the wing in an elaborate aerial display

The greenfinch (verdier) is a resident in France all year round and, as the name suggests, is mainly green, with yellow flashes on the wings and tail.

The birds’ beaks are thick and conical and their song consists of trilling twitters interspersed with wheezing noises.

During mating season, you might see a male greenfinch performing an elaborate ceremonial flight in which he looks as if he is imitating a butterfly.

Outside breeding season, they form large colonies and can be seen all taking flight together. They tend to live in cemeteries and parks, farmland hedges and gardens with trees and thick vegetation. They build nests in thick ivy or conifers, up to three metres above ground.

The greenfinch’s breeding season starts in early spring; after mating, the female makes a nest and lays three to six eggs.

While the female incubates the eggs the male feeds her, but once the chicks hatch they both share the task of feeding them, mainly on regurgitated seeds. In fact, greenfinches mainly live on seeds, but will also sometimes eat berries.

The main threats to their existence are the use of herbicides, the disappearnace of natural grassy areas and fewer hedgerows and trees.

Though common and widely dispersed in France (between one and two million pairs), the species has recently been downgraded to the status of a ‘vulnerable’, with an average annual decline of 2.6% since the 2000s.

In France, however, they are protected – meaning it is illegal to kill them, capture them, steal their eggs, damage their nests, chase them, or buy/sell them.

Greenfinches take to nesting boxes readily, making them a rewarding bird to encourage in the French garden. A great winter treat for them is to tie a dried sunflower head, full of seeds, to a birdfeeder with perches or a feeding platform.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2022 (for 2021 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now