This big finch has a powerful, triangular bill, a big head, thick neck and short tail. Its head is orange-brown and it has a black eye-stripe and bib. Its upper parts are dark brown and the underparts orange. Its white wing-bars and tail tip are noticeable in flight.
The non-migratory hawfinch can be found throughout Europe, with the exception of the far north and Ireland. It preferes deciduous and mixed woods, or parks with large trees.
Wary and shy, the hawfinch spends most of its time hidden high in trees. It usually nests well up in deciduous trees, against the trunk or in a branch fork. It feeds mainly on hard seeds and fruit kernels, which it cracks open with its powerful beak, generatating a force of around 50 kilograms.