The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Hawfinch
HAWFINCH, a conirostral bird, of the family fringillidæ and genus coccothraustes (Briss.). The common European hawfinch (C. vulgaris, Briss.) has a very large bill and head, like other grosbeaks; the neck is short and thick, and the body and limbs are proportionally small. In the male the head is yellowish brown, with the throat and space before the eyes black; fore part of back dark chestnut, the rest brownish gray, shading on the upper tail coverts into yellowish brown; wings with purple gloss and white spots; tail black, the outer feathers with a terminal white spot on the inner web, the inner gray toward the end and tipped with white; below pale yellowish brown; under tail coverts white; the bill flesh-colored, tipped with dusky; the fifth to the eighth primaries have their tips emarginate and the external margins falcate; the ninth, tenth, and five of the secondaries are truncated, the inner edge of the tips rounded, and the outer sharp; the tail is short and straight. The female resembles the male, but the colors are paler. The length is about 7 in., and the extent of wings 11 in. Specimens are often seen more varied with white. It is found in the mountainous and elevated regions of Europe, and is an irregular visitant of Great Britain. It feeds on the seeds of various trees, especially the hornbeam, plane, pines, and cherry, on the kernels of the haws, plum, &c., on laurel berries, and in the summer on various garden vegetables, particularly green peas. The song is pleasant, but plaintive. The nest is very elaborately constructed, of the usual materials, on the highest branches of trees, and the eggs, three to five, are of a pale olive green, with black spots, and irregular streaks of dusky; the young are hatched toward the end of May, and resemble the young green finch; the bill becomes deep blue in the breeding season.