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Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch

Fringilla polatzeki

The Gran Canaria blue chaffinch, Fringilla polatzeki, is a passerine bird belonging to the finch family, Fringillidae. It is a species that is unique to the Canary Islands, specifically the island of Gran Canaria. This bird bears a resemblance to the common chaffinch but is distinguished by its smaller size when compared to its Tenerife counterpart, the Tenerife blue chaffinch.

Identification Tips

Males of the species exhibit a striking blue plumage with two prominent white bands on the wings and a whiter belly, which contrasts with the less pronounced blue shades. Females, on the other hand, are cloaked in a more subdued grey-brown attire.

Habitat

The Gran Canaria blue chaffinch is most at home in the mountainous Canary Island pine forests, particularly at elevations around 1,000 meters. It thrives in coniferous forest areas that boast dense, mature trees.

Distribution

This avian gem is endemic to the highlands of Gran Canaria, with a strong presence in the Inagua Natural Reserve. Its distribution is limited to this specific region.

Behaviour

The Gran Canaria blue chaffinch has a diet that primarily consists of Canary Island pine seeds. In a departure from the feeding habits of most finches, the young are nourished predominantly on insects. The species is non-migratory and exhibits a breeding season that spans from the end of April to late July or early August. Nests are artfully constructed from pine needles and broom branches, and typically house two eggs. However, breeding success is notably low, often due to predation by the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Conservation status

With an alarmingly small population confined to the pine forests of Ojeda, Inagua, and Pajonales, the Gran Canaria blue chaffinch is considered one of the most endangered bird species on the planet. Its conservation status is currently listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

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Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinches on Birda

Photos

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