The scientific name of the Common Chaffinch has been Fringilla coelebs ever since the great Swedish namer and classifier Carl Linnæus called it that in 1758 in the 10th edition of his book Systema Naturae. Linnæus is still known as ‘the father of modern taxonomy’ because of his obsession for naming and classifying life. Fringilla is the Latin word for a finch while caelebs means unmarried or single. Linnæus was a brilliant botanist, physician and zoologist and observed that during the Swedish winter, only the female Chaffinches migrated south through Belgium to Italy.
Here’s a male Chaffinch in Italy sporting a rather dapper look, with crest and a whole variety of disruptive colour patterns which, despite their brightness, make Chaffinches difficult to spot on the woodland floor. This particular Italian male was surrounded by females. I wonder how many of them were single and Swedish?