Monday, 21 December 2015

Goldfinch Chorus

This morning, while I walked around the park I heard a distant loud cheerful chatter. As I approached I realised there was a flock of Goldfinches up a large horse chestnut and many of them were singing. It is the second time this week that I witness this behaviour, the first time it also happened in the morning, the flock of Goldfinches singing together from a bare sycamore. Some seemed to amuse themselves pecking the branches, but in general they were just calling and singing. Goldfinches are very social birds, they often nest in loose colonies, and, although individuals might squabble for a particular food source, they often feed together in flocks. Whereas in the summer they like the seeds of teasels, thistles and other herbaceous plants (even lavender seeds!), in the winter, they can often be seen feeding on trees, like Alder, Plane, Ash and Birch. I haven't managed to find much information about chorus singing in Goldfinches, but the behaviour has been described in the closely related American Goldfinch and Siskin, where the males in the flock joining in chorus song in winter and spring.
Goldfinch flock singing (two bulkier Greenfinches are amongst them)


  1. That is an interesting post Africa since a small flock of Goldfinches have started to visit 'my' Ash tree where they feast on the seeds in the keys. I haven't heard them though. but will open a window when next I see them.

  2. Thank you Toffeeapple. It would be great to see if anybody else has noticed this, such a wonderful, cheery sound I was surprised I didn't find it described in bird books. I have a few coming to the feeder, but I haven't heard this chorus singing near my garden.

    1. Today in the afternoon on my walk home from the super market I heard a distant flock of birds singing which I first mistook as house sparrows. As I came closer I realised it was a flock of 15 goldfinches chorus singing in the top of a tree. I googled the topic and found your blog. Earlier this year I also had a flock of chorus singing hawfinches in the same surroundings. Johnny Jönsson, Lund, Sweden.

    2. Thank you for your comment Johnny, and lovely to hear Hawfinches also do it. It is amazing to find new behaviours in our common birds.