Sunday, February 8, 2009
Finch is a general term popularly applied to more than 1000 species of stout billed, seed eating birds that are classified in several different families and subfamilies. Among the weaverbirds, family Ploceidae, for instance, are many species called finches. The waxbills, Estrildidae, are also a type of finch. Charles Darwin based much of his theory of evolution on birds now known as Darwin’s Finches (Geospizidae). In a more restricted sense, however, finches belong primarily to the subfamily Carduelinae of the great family Fringillidae, which also includes the cardinal of the great family Frimarily to the subfamily Carduelinae of the great family Fringillidae, which also includes the cardinals, buntings, grobreaks, towhees, sparrows, and many other birds. Other carduelines that are not specifically named finch include the siskins, redpolls, crossbills, and pine grossbreaks.
Most finches, regardless of their classification, are primarily seedeaters, with stout bills and a well developed gizzard. But even the seedeaters usually feed their young, for a few days at least, on more easily digested insects. Exceptions occur among the Goldfinches, redpools, and some other carduelines.
Many finches are brightly colored with red, yellow or blue predominating. Most finches are very musical, with songs that vary from the soft twittering of goldfinches and canaries to the printed warble of the purple finches in flight. Many authorities consider finches the highest and latest development on the avian evolutionary ladder.