Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch

Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch by AFC

Fringilla polatzeki by Russ Heselden
(8 in. x 8 in. | Oil on board | ID#3821)

Family: FRINGILLIDAE | Conservation Status: Endangered | Population Trend: increasing

Artist Statement

Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinches are present only on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. With an estimated global population of just 120–132 pairs they may be Europe’s rarest breeding bird. They used to be much more common (as indicated by 76 specimens collected by a single ornithologist over four months in 1909) but deforestation led to a loss of 62% of their pine forest habitat by the 1920s and this, coupled with collection of specimens for museums, triggered a decline that may have been hastened by insecticide applications in 1953 (HBW Alive). For this painting I wanted to create a bold design which showed the bird in its habitat. I opted for a strong diagonal composition, with the bird perched up in a Canary Pine.
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