Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Blue Chaffinch

Sunday 6 March

From correspondence received it would appear that we did not see a Blue Chaffinch whilst on Tenerife last week.  The "true" Blue Chaffinch is, literally, blue which may account for the very fleeting sight that Derek and I had of a flying bird on Saturday 27 February.

What the islands do have is a sub-species of the Common European Chaffinch found in mainland Europe.  The following description was found on the web when trying to access further information:

The "Tintillon" Chaffinch is a subspecies of the common European Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs). It is similar looking to the subspecies of chaffinch on Madiera and Azores, all being grouped as "Tintillon" chaffinches from the Portuguese word for the bird "Tentilhao".  The central Canary Islands subspecies is known both as Fringilla coelebs canariensis and Fringilla coelebs tintillion; since it looks so different to the European Chaffinch, some also give it and those on other Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores full species status, making it Fringilla tintillon canariensis.  It apparently colonised the Canaries at a different time than the other Tenerife endemic chaffinch, the Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla teydea) whose territory in Teide's pine forests overlaps with its.

Below is one of my photographs of a Tintillon Chaffinch and below a shot of a Blue Chaffinch as provided by Steve Kitchen along with his notes.  (All males)

Tintillon Chaffinch  Fringilla tintillon canariensis

I attach a photo of the Blue Chaffinch for reference.  The Chaffinch site you were heading for north of Vilamora is I believe Las Lajas where you will only find Blue Chaffinch whereas there are other sites where both types are found together.

Blue Chaffinch  Fringilla teydea  (PHOTO: Steve Kitchen)

It just goes to show that birding is never as easy as you think and you should not take anything for granted.

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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