Although they are similar in size and shape to the chaffinch, the male has a black head in summer, and an orange breast with white belly. In flight it shows a long white rump. They are gregarious in winter, and may form flocks of many thousands. often joining with chaffinches.
In winter, Bramblings migrate from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and overwinter in the UK. Numbers can vary between winters depending on the food supplies and reports of the beech mast crop failure overseas might result in the arrival of large numbers of Brambling in the UK this year with several having already been reported in the Greater Manchester area.
In winter Bramblings like beech woodland and farmland fields near woods. Look in flocks of chaffinches and other finches. In autumn look along east coast woodlands and fields. They will visit gardens in winter, eating seeds whilst in summer they eat insects.
Bramblings are usally present in the UK from mid-September until March and April with occasional birds staying into May or even later.