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19 Amaze-wing Facts About The Azores Bullfinch For Kids

Discover interesting Azores bullfinch facts.

 A true finch is a small to medium-sized passerine bird belonging to the family Fringillidae. Many species have a colorful plumage while some have a plain uniform plumage. Their distribution is extensive and occupies most regions except for Australia and Antarctica. The Fringillidae family contains over 200 species of finches that are further divided into 50 genera including siskins, canaries, redpolls, serins, and grosbeaks. This article will tell you everything you need to know about this rare and endangered bullfinch, including details about its population size, conservation status, and life span!

The Azores bullfinch is native and endemic to São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago of Macaronesia in the North Atlantic Ocean, and faces the danger of extinction. These birds are in the genus Pyrrhula and are commonly known as bullfinches. This genus was introduced by Mathurin Jacques Brisson, a French zoologist in 1760. The scientific name Pyrrhula murina was given to the species by Frederick Godman, a British ornithologist in 1866. It is also known as the São Miguel bullfinch or locally as the Priolo in Portuguese.

Learn about some other birds from our blue jay facts and whiskered treeswift facts pages.

Azores Bullfinch Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Azores bullfinch?

The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) or Priolo is a bird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does an Azores bullfinch belong to?

The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) bird belongs to the Aves class.

How many Azores bullfinches are there in the world?

The population size of the Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) or Priolo is small and limited. However, it wasn't always like this. Their population was once large and occupied a wider range, but both their numbers and range began declining rapidly since the late '20s. This is because their natural habitats have been destroyed for grazing, agriculture, afforestation, and the invasion of foreign, non-indigenous or non-native plant species, particularly the Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica). In 2008, the approximate population stood at 775 individuals. As of now, it is one of the most threatened passerine bird species and the second rarest bird in Europe. The main approach to protect and conserve the species is by protecting and restoring the threatened native laurel forest vegetation.

Where does an Azores bullfinch live?

Over the last century, the Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) or Priolo has been restricted to a relatively small space and is native to the São Miguel island, mainly centered in the Serra da Tronqueira range. Some of the birds are slightly migratory and seasonally move further towards the western areas of their range, Salto do Cavalo. Juveniles separate from their parents and fledge from their nests to a different location within their range.

What is an Azores bullfinch's habitat?

The Azores bullfinch habitat requirements change or vary according to the region's natural vegetation, and seasonal variation in food resources. During summers, they are mobile and inhabit bare grounds and forest edges. These birds, especially before winters, start moving across areas of mature forest to reach fruiting and herbaceous plants. These birds live at high altitudes but occasionally descend to lower altitudes.

Who do Azores bullfinches live with?

The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) or Priolo in Portuguese lives in pairs and is often spotted in small loose flocks.

How long does an Azores bullfinch live?

The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) or Priolo bird has a poor life span and lives only for two or four years.

How do they reproduce?

An Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) is endemic to and breeds across the São Miguel island. This bird is monogamous and coupled up pairs remain together for several breeding seasons. This bird is not highly territorial or competitive during the breeding season, perhaps the low density of occurrence has changed its behavior over the past few decades. Male birds try to impress and attract a female partner by singing a series of repetitive descending, soft, and sweet notes. This is also known as their breeding song. The breeding season begins mid-June and lasts to late August. A short while before mating, females build their nests using twigs, grass, and moss. Their nests are double-layered and they select a spot with dense vegetation to build their nests. The nests are similar to that of the Eurasian bullfinch species.

The average clutch size or the number of eggs laid by the female birds is unknown. The eggs are hatched two or four weeks after they are laid, and both parents look after, care for, and feed the young chicks. They later fledge from the nests a few days or sometimes even weeks after hatching. This is followed by the adult parents molting and shedding their old feathers sometime around September.

Snakes often destroy their nests and feed on the eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The decline in the population size of this bird in the last century can be blamed on a loss of habitat and the spread of invasive, exotic, alien, and indigenous plants that suppress the growth of native plant species and take over the remaining patches of natural vegetation, and attacks from exotic invaders. The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species recently downgraded the status of this species from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable. These birds are said to be one of the most threatened and rarest bird species in Europe.

To save them from extinction, we must save and restore their available ecosystem in their native forest located in the northern archipelago of Macaronesia, by clearing invasive plants especially Japanese cedar, establishing fruit tree orchards, and planting native species to improve food availability at the end of the winter.

Azores Bullfinch Fun Facts

What do Azores bullfinches look like?

Both sexes of the Azores bullfinch are virtually identical in appearance. However, Azores bullfinch males are slightly larger than females because they are fairly round and plump, with short wings and a longer tail. The patterns are similar to other bullfinch species, but the colors are on the duller side. The head, nape, and face are black and the rest of their body including the wings and tail are uniform pale grayish-brown. They have stout conical bills adapted to their feeding habits and diet, including seeds, fruits, and nuts. Some males may display a faint pinkish suffusion on the belly and flanks. Juveniles have a uniform pale gray plumage. Adults molt completely in September which is the end of their mating season.

Fun facts about the Azores bullfinches for kids.

How cute are they?

This bird is considered cute because of its small size and fairly rounded body.

How do they communicate?

They primarily communicate via vocalizations. Male birds are more vocal than the females and are known for their sweet, soft, and melodious song. Their contact call is a distinctive short, flute-like, melancholic whistle.

How big is an Azores bullfinch?

An Azores bullfinch bird grows up to 5.9-6.6 in (15–17 cm) in size. An emu is nearly 10 times bigger than an Azores bullfinch.

How fast can an Azores bullfinch fly?

The Azores bullfinch flying speed rate is unknown. However, these birds travel long distances within their range in winter, occasionally in search of food or for a better habitat.

How much does an Azores bullfinch weigh?

An adult Azores bullfinch weighs about 1 oz (30 g). They are two times heavier than the hermit warbler.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These birds do not have individual names for the Azores bullfinch male and female species. They are simply called males and females.

What would you call a baby Azores bullfinch?

A baby Azores bullfinch is called a chick throughout the world.

What do they eat?

The Azores bullfinch diet includes a range of fruit buds, seeds, flower buds, fern sporangia, fronds, and moss. To survive food shortages, the species has developed feeding habits that change throughout the seasons to adapt to whatever food is available. They will love to eat seeds and shoots of fruit trees in your garden.

Animals like snakes and falcons prey on this species.

Are they poisonous?

No, birds of this species are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No! The Azores bullfinch is classified as a Vulnerable bird species and is best left in the wild to live with its kind.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Azores bullfinches were formerly classified as a subspecies of the Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) but were split off in 1993 after further research and studies in taxonomy.

According to Antonio Arnaiz Villena, a Spanish immunologist, all birds belonging to the genus Pyrrhula have originated from the pine grosbeak.

Are there any laws protecting the Azores bullfinch?

Yes, there are several laws and policies to protect this species, including the Annex I of the EU Wild Birds Directive where the laurel forest, the habitat of this species, is listed as a priority habitat.

There are several laws aimed to protect and conserve the species such as the EU Birds Directive - Council Directive on the conservation of wild birds and the Annex I of the EU Wild Birds Directive to protect wild birds and their habitats such as through the designation of Special Protection Areas.

The SPA management plan along with the LIFE Priolo project are incorporated in the São Miguel Natural Park management plan, and several other projects are dedicated to saving the Azores bullfinch include the restoration of the original laurel forest habitat in the eastern Monteverde of São Miguel.

Why are bullfinches called bullfinches?

The name 'bullfinch' comes from the bird's front-heavy and bull-headed appearance.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our hummingbird facts and flycatcher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Azores bullfinch coloring pages.

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