Return to Main Page   Dakota Birder Blog    


Fringilla montifringilla

Length: 6.25 inches Wingspan: 11 inches Seasonality: Rare visitor
ID Keys: Orange shoulder, chest, and chin, black upperparts

Brambling - Fringilla montifringillaThe Brambling is common finch in Europe and Asia.  However, every year, small numbers are found in Alaska during migration, apparently after crossing the Bering strait from nearby Russia.  Even smaller numbers will occasionally migrate further south through North America.  They have reached several U.S. states.  They can sometimes surprise a birder by popping up unexpectedly at a feeder.  However, there have only been two documented cases of a Brambling in South Dakota (see SDOU's "Birds of South Dakota).

Habitat: Can be found in a variety of semi-open  and brushy habitats or open woodlands during their unusual North American appearances.  In their native range, they breed in northern forests and winter in woodlands and brushy fields.

Diet: Feeds on insects and seeds during the summer months.  Feeds primarily on seeds during the winter.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.

Song: A bold harsh dshweeee song.  They also have a chek-chek-chek flight call.

Migration: Small numbers are found every year in Alaska during migration, just a short distance across the Bering Sea from their normal migration routes.  Much smaller numbers have continued their southward migration on the North American side of the Pacific Ocean, and have reached many States in the continental U.S.  

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird map of Brambling sightings

Similar Species: Generally distinctive compared to native North American species.  Some similarities in colors with the Common Chaffinch, another visitor from Europe.

Conservation Status: Common in its normal range.

Further Information: 1) WhatBird - Brambling

2) BirdWeb - Brambling

Photo Information: Taken in Norway, May 2005 by Helge Sørensen


Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Brambling - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Extremely rare visitor, with only a handful of records in the state.

Additional Brambling Photos (coming soon!)