• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Thibaud Aronson
Llanos de la Pez, Gran Canaria, 20 September 2021
Fringilla polatzeki


16–17 cm (6¼-6¾ in);

  • Pale grey bill
  • Whitish wing bars

Breeding male

  • Pale greyish-blue head and mantle
  • Light grey breast, throat and flanks
  • White undertail Coverts


  • Brownish-grey upperparts
  • Greyish-white below

Similar Species

Adult male is smaller than Tenerife Blue Chaffinch (shorter wings and marginally smaller bill), with a blacker forehead band, overall paler plumage and whiter wing-bars. The two species do not overlap in range.


Found exclusively in the Pinus canariensis forests of Gran Canaria where drastic deforestation has occured. This species is critically endangered. There may only be 185 individual birds, restricted to the Ojeda, Inagua, Pajonales and maybe Tamadaba pine forests.


Formerly lumped with Tenerife Blue Chaffinch under the name "Blue Chaffinch."


This is a monotypic species[1].


Forests of Canary pine (Pinus canariensis) mainly between c. 700 m and 1200 m.


During the breeding season pairs establish and defend territories. Territories are generally larger in this species than for the Tenerife Blue Chaffinch.


Feeding occurs mostly on the ground. Pine seeds constitute the staple food throughout the year, but the diet also includes a significant proportion of arthropods.


The breeding season begins in mid-April.


Song is higher-pitched than that of Tenerife Blue Chaffinch, the notes being markedly softer and more subdued in the second part of the song.


The blue chaffinch has suffered hugely from unscrupulous collecting by early ornithologists. One, the Austrian Rudolph Von Thanner, is known to have shot 76 on Gran Canaria at the beginning of the 20th Century.


Resident and generally very sedentary, making only very local movements within pine forests.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch (Fringilla polatzeki). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/1344121 on 16 February 2020).
  3. Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2019. IOC World Bird List (v9.2). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.9.2. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  4. Grant, P.J., K. Mullarney, L. Svensson, D. Zetterstrom (1999) Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Harpercollins Pub Ltd ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  5. Sangster, G., Rodríguez-Godoy, F., Roselaar, C.S., Robb, M.S. & Luksenburg, J.A. (2016) Integrative taxonomy reveals Europe’s rarest songbird species, the Gran Canaria blue chaffinch Fringilla polatzeki. J. Avian Biol. 47(2): 159–166.
  6. Lifjeld, J.T., Anmarkrud, J.A., Calabuig, P., Cooper, J.E.J., Johannessen, L.E., Johnsen, A., Kearns, A.M., Lachlan, R.F., Laskemoen, T., Marthinsen, G., Stensrud, E. & Garcia-del-Rey, E. (2016) Species-level divergences in multiple functional traits between the two endemic subspecies of Blue Chaffinches Fringilla teydea in Canary Islands. BMC Zool. 1: 4. doi: 10.1186/s40850–016–0008–4.

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.