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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Pine Grosbeak

Pinicola enucleator

  • Family: Finches – Fringillidae
  • Appearance: Large, thick-set, short-necked, thrush-sized birds, reminiscent of a large Crossbill. Males pinkish red, females orange yellowish orange. Two white wing bars prominent on wings. Tail longish.
  • Size: Length 19–22 cm, weight 38–67 g.
  • Nest: In a tree, loosely built of twigs and dwarf shrub stems, lined with root fibre, straw, reindeer hair, moss fragments etc.
  • Breeding: 4–5 eggs laid May–June, incubated by female for 13–14 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 13–14 days.
  • Distribution: Breeds in forests in Central and Southern Finnish Lapland, but often roams, even as far as southern coastal regions. Finnish population estimated at 5,000–20,000 pairs. Has declined greatly in recent times.
  • Migration: Generally moves away from breeding areas for the winter, most often in a southwesterly direction, therefore only seldom seen in Central or Southern Finland (though may be abundant in these areas during good years for Rowan berries). Autumn migration October-November, return migration March-April.
  • Diet: Seeds, spruce buds, seeds of Rowan berries in winter.
  • Calls: A clear flute-like “tilu-lee” with variations. Song clear and strong, similar to song of Woodlark.

Pine Grosbeaks are large, long-tailed finches, about the size of a small thrush. Males’ plumage is mainly pinkish red, females are mainly yellowish orange. The wings of both sexes are black with two white wing bars (pinkish on males) and white outer edges to secondary and tertial wing feathers. Pine Grosbeaks’ large, sturdy beaks are dark brown with a pale base to the lower mandible. Their legs and irises are dark brown. They are fearless and seem somewhat slow and clumsy in their movements.

Other species from the same family

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