Trumpeter finch -- 沙雀 (Bucanetes githagineus)

Male trumpeter finch on rock
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Trumpeter finch fact file

Trumpeter finch description

GenusBucanetes (1)

The trumpeter finch (Bucanetes githagineus) is often a difficult species to spot as its greyish-brown plumage camouflages it perfectly against the stony deserts it inhabits (3) (4). The trumpeter finch is a short and stocky bird with a distinctive stubby bill, which is bright coral-red in breeding males and yellowish in females and juveniles. The breeding male also has a rosy pink tinge to the face, rump, wings, underparts and sides of the tail, and both sexes have darker primary and tail feathers, with pale edges. The juvenile trumpeter finch is similar in appearance to the female (4).

The trumpeter finch is named for its distinctive song, which is a nasal buzz that sounds similar to that of a toy trumpet (4).

Rhodopechys githaginea.
Bouvreuil à ailes roses.
Length: 12 cm (2)
Wingspan: 26 cm (2)
22 g (2)

Trumpeter finch biology

Aided by its strong bill, the trumpeter finch feeds mainly on seeds (8), particularly those of oilseed rape (Brassica rapa) and canary grass (Phalaris canariensis) (9). It also feeds on low herbs, grasses and insects that are found when foraging in rocky areas. The trumpeter finch finds its food by flitting and jumping around on the ground, and will often dig fairly deep into the soil to find seeds (8).

The trumpeter finch constructs its nest in a rocky crevice or underneath a shrub, where it builds an untidy collection of roots, twigs, leaves, wool, grass, stalks and occasionally feathers. Trumpeter finches at the southern end of the range tend to lay their eggs earlier than their northern counterparts, in early March rather than late May (10). Temperature is a key factor in governing when this species breeds, with colder temperatures generally delaying breeding (11). The size of the clutch usually ranges from 4 to 6 eggs, which are incubated for 11 to 14 days (10).


Trumpeter finch range

The trumpeter finch is widespread across warm arid regions, occurring mainly in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Canary Islands (3). Since the 1970s, the trumpeter finch has also been observed breeding in south-eastern Spain (5) (6).


Trumpeter finch habitat

An inhabitant of arid open country (2), including deserts, the trumpeter finch often occurs near water sources (4). It nests in rocky crevices, stone walls, or on ledges on cliff faces (4) (7).


Trumpeter finch status

The trumpeter finch is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Trumpeter finch threats

At present, there are no known major threats to the trumpeter finch, and this species is not considered to be threatened with extinction (12).


Trumpeter finch conservation

There are no known specific conservation measures currently in place for the trumpeter finch.

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View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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More information on the trumpeter finch:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


A small, non-woody, seed bearing plant in which all the aerial parts die back at the end of each growing season.
Kept warm so that development is possible.
Primary feathers are the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of the wing.


  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2010)
  2. Robinson, R.A. (2005) BirdFacts: Profiles of Birds Occurring in Britain and Ireland. BTO, Thetford. Available at:
  3. Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M. (1994) The Birds of the Western Paleartic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Peterson, R.T., Mountfort, G. and Hollum, P.A.D. (1993) A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 
  5. Carrillo, C.M., Barbosa, A., Valera, F., Barrientos, R., and Moreno, E. (2007) Northward expansion of a desert bird: effects of climate change? Ibis, 149: 166-169.
  6. Jonsson, L. (1982) Birds of the Mediterranean and Alps. Croom Helm, London.
  7. Barrientos, R., Valera, F., Barbosa, A., Carrillo, C.M. and Moreno, E. (2009) Plasticity of nest site selection in the trumpeter finch: a comparison between two different habitats. Acta Oecologic, 35: 499-506.
  8. Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. (1998) The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Concise Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  9. Carrillo, C.M., Barbosa, A., Valera, F. and Moreno, E. (2007) Seed selection by the trumpeter finch, Bucanetes githagineus. What currency does this arid-land species value? Annales Zoologici Fennici, 44: 377-386.
  10. Avibirds European Birdguide (November, 2010)
  11. Barrientos, R., Barbosa, A., Valera, F. and Moreno, E. (2007) Temperature but not rainfall influences timing of breeding in a desert bird, the trumpeter finch (Bucanetes githagineus). Journal of Ornithology, 148: 411-416.
  12. BirdLife International (November, 2010)

Image credit

Male trumpeter finch on rock  
Male trumpeter finch on rock

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