The grosbeak cocothraustes cocothraustes is the largest of the Spanish finches. A bird that mostly winters in our latitudes, it visits us very irregularly during the coldest months of the year, where the practically non-existent sedentary population of the Iberian Peninsula is joined by a significant contingent of migrant individuals from Central Europe.
Stealthy and difficult to observe, it is one of the most robust and compact birds of the European avifauna, with a short tail that together with a very voluminous head give it a unique anatomical appearance.
Orange-brown in color, it has a characteristic black “mask” with brown eyes, and dark-colored wings, where a white stripe and a blue color stand out at the tips. Females and juveniles do not have such bright colors, being paler and grayish in their plumage.
Its habitat is mainly found in mountain areas with olive, almond and fruit trees near the forest.
It feeds mainly on the pulp of different fruits, as well as hard seeds, which it opens with its thick and powerful beak, through which it can exert more than 80 kg of pressure per cm2, thanks to the fact that it has developed extraordinary muscles in its skull. to move their jaws and split the pits of cherries and olives with great ease.
It also ingests buds and tender stems of trees and shrubs. In spring it completes its diet with insects, especially moths and beetles.
Its flight is fast, powerful and with a straight trajectory over short distances, although over long distances it describes a marked and periodic undulation in the air. When they spread their wings, they show two large white spots that make them easy to identify, although it is not easy to detect them, as they are a shy, elusive and very silent bird that thrives in the upper part of the crowns of large trees.
Finding it and being able to photograph it is an experience that takes time, since obtaining the results comes after long periods of following its evolution.
Playing his song: