The Brambling is similar in size and shape to Common Chaffinch. Breeding male Bramblings are very distinctive, with a black head, dark upperparts, orange breast and white belly. Females and younger birds are less distinct, and more similar in appearance to some Chaffinches. In all plumages, however, Bramblings differ from Chaffinches in a number of features. Brambling has a white rump, that of Chaffinch is grey-green. The breast is orange,belly is white on Brambling. On Chaffinch the underparts are uniformly coloured (pink or buff). Brambling's scapulars are orange, whereas Chaffinch's are grey or grey-brown; the flanks are dark-spotted on Brambling, plain on Chaffinch.

Habitat and Distribution

This bird is widespread throughout the forests of northern Europe and Asia. It is migratory, wintering in southern Europe, north Africa, north India, northern Pakistan, China and Japan. It regularly strays into Alaska during migration and may continue as far south as the western United States. Open coniferous or birch woodland is favoured for breeding. This species is almost entirely migratory. In Europe, it forms large flocks in the winter.


Bramblings mostly eat seeds, but unlike most finches, their young are fed largely on insects.


This bird builds its nest in a tree fork, and decorates the exterior with moss or lichen to make it less conspicuous. It lays 4-9 eggs.