Bird Watching

Bullfinch / Gimpel: a shy hopper

The Bullfinch – Scheuer Hüpfer
Surname bullfinch, bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Size 15.5 – 17 cm
distribution Europe, Asia
habitat Mixed forests, coniferous forests, gardens, parks
breeding season April – July
food seeds, buds, fruits

The bullfinch, also called bullfinch or bloodfinch, is a species of finch that is widespread in Germany. While the male’s appearance is rather distinctive with the red belly and black head, the bullfinch is otherwise a very unremarkable little hopper. Almost invisible, he jumps through leaves and berry bushes. Its song is just as inconspicuous as the bullfinch itself: quiet, delicate and very subtle.


Apart from the salmon-colored red belly of the male, the strong black finch beak is particularly characteristic of the bullfinch. Back and upper wings are grey, primaries and secondaries dark with a light band. The dark feathers of some bullfinches have a delicate bluish shimmer. If you observe a bullfinch flying up or landing, the white rump and the white rump immediately catch the eye as bright spots of colour. Bullfinch juveniles are brownish and do not yet have a black head. Like most finches, the bullfinch is a small bird: it grows up to 17 centimeters tall and has a wingspan of almost 30 centimetres.


The bullfinch is widespread throughout Europe, but it is also found in the Near East and East Asia, as well as in Japan and Siberia. The German bullfinches are sedentary, while the Scandinavian bullfinches advance to Germany in winter. The bullfinch inhabits both the lowlands and mountain forests and, with its stable, large population, has been considered a secure species since the 1990s.

behavior and knowledge

The bullfinch is most common in coniferous forests, but also in sparse mixed forests with undergrowth. In close proximity to people it can be found mainly in parks and gardens with coniferous trees, especially spruces. Especially in winter, outside the breeding season, it can easily be observed eating or looking for food. The males are then easy to spot between the bare branches thanks to their bright red belly. The bullfinch usually moves hopping, almost dancing, in search of seeds and berries. Unlike the bullfinch’s song, the contact call is more audible. The quiet, slightly melancholic ‘Düüb’ is unmistakable for the experienced bird watcher. A feast for the ears of every garden owner and every bird watcher.

Cover photo by Christiane on Pixabay


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