Finches are passerine songbirds in the family Fringillidae. They are mostly seed-eaters. The scientific name Fringillidae comes from the Latin word fringilla for the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), which is common in Europe.
|Adult male Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)|
of the Fringillinae
Most species are native to the Southern Hemisphere, but one subfamily is endemic to the Neotropics, one to the Hawaiian Islands, and one genus is found only in the Palaearctic (Eurasia and north Africa).
Many birds in other families are also commonly called "finches" They include
- • some species in the very similar-looking waxbills (family Passeridae, of the Old World tropics and Australia;
- • several groups of the bunting and American sparrow family (Emberizidae);
- • Darwin's 'finches' of the Galapagos Islands, which provided evidence of natural selection. They are now recognized to be peculiar tanagers (Thraupidae).
Some species are being imported or smuggled into other countries and sold as exotic pets.
- Fringillinae: Fringilla
- Drepanidinae: Hawaiian honeycreepers
- Euphoniinae: Euphonious finches