Bullfinch (pyrrhula rubicilla, Pall.), a bird of the finch family, a native of northern and temperate Europe. The bill is remarkably short and thick, of a black color, and convex in all its outlines; the head is large, the neck short, and the body stout. The length of the male bird is 6 inches, the extent of wings 10 inches, the bill about one third of an inch. The plumage is soft; around the base of the bill the feathers are bristly, concealing the nostrils; the third quill of the wing is the longest; the tail nearly straight, consisting of 12 broad rounded feathers. The eyes are dark brown, the feet dusky, the claws brownish black. The upper part of the head and a band at the base of the lower jaw are glossy bluish black; the hind neck, back, and scapulars ashy gray; the rump and lower tail coverts white; the upper coverts and tail bluish black; the quills and primary coverts are brownish black, the outer webs of the secondaries being glossed with blue; the secondary coverts are tipped with gray or grayish white, forming a bar on the wing; the cheeks, front of the neck, breast and sides are light crimson; the belly grayish white. This is the ordinary male plumage, which in captivity becomes sometimes very dusky.
The female is a little smaller; the coloring is similar, but the tints are much duller; the parts which are red in the male are dull grayish brown in the female. The bullfinch is fond of wooded and cultivated districts, avoiding barren tracts near the sea and bleak islands; it is gregarious, but seldom associates with other birds; it is not migratory, but frequents the woods and thickets of England during the whole year. Its flight is quick and undulating; its notes are soft, low, plaintive, and mellow. It is often caged for its beauty, and in captivity becomes very docile, and may be taught a variety of tunes. During the greater part of the vear it lives in the thickets and woods, occa-sionally visiting the fields in search of seeds. In the spring it is very destructive to the buds of the gooseberry, cherry, plum, and other fruit trees. It begins to build its nest in the beginning of May, of small, dry twigs and fibrous roots, generally in a thorn bush, thick hedge, or bushy spruce; the eggs, four or five in number, are of bluish or purplish white color, speckled and streaked with purple and reddish brown.
The young at first resemble the female, but without the black on the head; the male does not acquire the full red tint until the second year.
Bullfinch (Pyrrhula rubicilla).