Encyclopedia > Finch

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Finch

True Finches

Evening Grosbeak
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Fringillidae
Genera
many: see list in text

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, the many species of which are found chiefly in the northern hemisphere, but also to a limited extent in Africa and South America.

They are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a strong flight and most sing well. Nests are basket-shaped and built in trees.

There are two main subfamilies. The first, the Fringillinae, contains only three species, which feed their young insects rather than seeds:

The much larger second group, the Carduelinae contains several genera which feed their young on seeds:

There are many other birds in other groups which are called finches, notably the very similar-looking Estrilids or waxbills[?], which occur in the Old World tropics and Australia.

Some of the closely related sparrows are also named as "finches", as are some buntings.



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