Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)


French: Gros-bec casse-noyaux German: Kernbeißer Spanish: Picogordo común

Loxia Coccothraustes


, 1758,

southern Europe, probably Italy


Geographical variation fairly slight and partly clinal, nominate race increasing in size from W to E. Nominate intergrades widely with nigricans in Croatia, S Bulgaria and Greece E to S Ukraine and NW & N Turkey, and latter race may fall within level of variation of nominate, from which considered doubtfully separable by plumage features; further research required. Race shulpini misspelt#R (original description not seen) in HBW and elsewhere. Six subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. coccothraustes (Linnaeus, 1758) – S Fennoscandia and C & S Britain S to Spain, Corsica, Sardinia, C Italy, Slovenia, Bulgaria, N Greece, NW & N Turkey and N & C Caucasus, E through Russia and C Siberia to Transbaikalia, S to NE Kazakhstan and N Mongolia; winters in Europe (except N) S to N Africa, Cyprus, C Asia, and C, S & SE China (Gansu E to Jiangsu, S to Fujian, also Guizhou).
  • C. c. buvryi Cabanis, 1862 – N & NC Morocco, N Algeria and N Tunisia.
  • C. c. nigricans Buturlin, 1908 – Crimea, C & S Caucasus, NE Turkey, N Iran, possibly also SW Turkmenistan.
  • C. c. humii Sharpe, 1886 – E Uzbekistan E to Kyrgyzstan and S Kazakhstan (W Tien Shan), S to W Tajikistan and WC Afghanistan; winters also S to N & W Pakistan and W Kashmir.
  • C. c. shulpini H. C. Johansen, 1944 – Russian Far East (Amurland and Ussuriland), NE China (N Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang S to S Liaoning) and N Korea; winters in E & SE China.
  • C. c. japonicus Temminck & Schlegel, 1848 – E Russia (C & S Kamchatka), Sakhalin, Kuril Is and N Japan; winters in S Japan, S Korea and SE China, rarely in Taiwan and Ogasawara (Bonin) Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm; 46–72 g. Large, plump finch with big conical bill, short tail, and unique crescentic or cleaver-shaped and laterally sharply pointed tips of inner... read more


    Song, usually from top of tree, intermittently throughout year but very infrequently heard, an... read more


    Old deciduous woodland and (except in W of range) mixed broadleaf and conifer woodlands where... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide variety of hard seeds, buds and shoots of trees and shrubs, also some fruit; some invertebrates and larvae. Seeds and buds include... read more


    Season end Mar to mid-Aug; one brood. Monogamous; pair-bond apparently endures for more than one breeding season. Solitary, sometimes... read more


    Resident and migratory. Asian populations largely migratory; N populations move farther than do... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common in much of range; uncommon in Caucasus, and generally rare in Siberia. Estimated European breeding population between 1,133,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes). 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 on 28 February 2020).