Greenfinches nest in plantations, large shrubby gardens and churchyards with lots of evergreens, thickets and tall hedges. After breeding, goldfinches forage on waste land, overgrown rubbish dumps, neglected allotments of food, and rough pastures. Bullfinches, in their breeding season, develop in the floor of their mouths special pouches in which food for the young is retained. These pouches open, one on each side of the tongue and, when full, extend back under the jaws as far as the neck, when they together hold about one cubic centimetre of food. Cocks of the Chaffinch and Brambling species sing in the breeding season to repel other cocks and attract hens.
This illustrated survey of finch behaviour is a thorough, non-technical account of the habits of these birds throughout the world. Dr. Newton uses his extensive bird-watching experience and knowledge of the published literature to document the main patterns of feeding, development of feathers, breeding, and migration. As a result, he presents the changing relationship of the birds to their environment.
The author is on the staff of the Nature Conservancy at Edinburgh, Scotland. His several scientific papers on finches have appeared in Birds, Journal of Animal Ecology and other scholarly periodicals.
‘An excellent book covering every aspect of finches, including feeding mechanisms, roosting, breeding behaviour, moulting and migration. Such a wealth of information has been put together in this volume that it is bound to remain a standard work on the finches for a long time to come.’
‘A bird monograph which improves on all others in its breadth and depth of treatment. The lives and destinies of the finches are shown in clear and fascinating perspective as never before.’
Eastern Daily Press
‘As comprehensive and well organised as one would expect of the excellent New Naturalist series.’