Blue Chaffinch – Fringilla teydea

Endemic species “Level 3***” (“super star“) – published on 3rd of January 2018
See Fringillidae family (finches, serins, euphonias…)
In French: Pinson bleu en français

Fringilla_teydea5The Blue Chaffinch is a very localised endemic that lives only in the highland pine forests around the volcano Teide on the island of Tenerife, in the Canaries, Spain. The total population is around 2000 pairs. It is a great subject to learn for those who are interested by island animal evolution and adaptation to special natural habitats.

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Where to find it?

This beautiful endemic is easy to see, you just need to take one of the numerous roads going up towards the volcano from any side of the mountain. When you reach the forest dominated by pines, here you are! If it’s singing, you will easily recognize the typical voice of a chaffinch. If it’s not singing, depending of the season, it’s more difficult to see; then the best option is to go on one of the picnic sites, but mind the thieves, unfortunately numerous ! Blue Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Island Canary and other birds come to take advantage of the little pounds of water that exist around some of the sinks provided there.

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Endemism and taxonomy

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The area is well known for endemics. Dozens of taxa are restricted to the Macaronesian islands that are Cape Verde, Canaries, Madeira and Azores. Among those archipelagos, the Canaries have the highest diversity, especially the island of Tenerife.

Recently,  colonised three out of the four archipelagos, all but Cape Verde, with at least five sub-species of the Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) in the Canaries, Madeira and Azores. However, an earlier wave of colonization are at the origin of two separated species from their European relative: the Blue Chaffinch on Tenerife and the Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch.

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[Species #3 of the Holistic Encyclopedia of Birds project]

List of other species pages: taxonomicalday per day

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All photos and text are © Valéry Schollaert and Marinella Mejia

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