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Any of several hundred species of small, conical-billed, seed-eating songbirds (in several families), including the bunting, canary, cardinal, chaffinch, crossbill, Darwin's (Galapagos) finch, goldfinch, grass finch, grosbeak, sparrow, and weaver. Finches are small, compact birds 3–10 in. (10–27 cm) long. Most use their heavy bill to crack seeds; many also eat insects. Many finches are brightly coloured, often with shades of red and yellow. Found throughout the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere and South America and in parts of Africa, finches are among the dominant birds in many areas, both in numbers of individuals and species. They are often kept as singing cage birds.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on finch, visit Britannica.com.