The greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) is disappearing from UK gardens because of a deadly disease - with numbers more than halving in a decade, new research has warned. The greenfinch's colourful plumage and distinctive twittering once made it one of our most familiar feathered friends. But numbers have plunged by an alarming 59 per cent in just 10 years - sparking concerns for its very future on these shores, warn bird watchers.
The decline is caused by a widespread and severe outbreak of a disease called trichomonosis, that was first seen in finches in the UK in 2005. The disease – also known as canker or bird bath disease – is spread by waterborn parasites on bird tables and also affects pigeons. The scale of the greenfinch's rapid decline has shocked experts - and raised a high level alert for its long term health for the first time.
It was not even a conservation fear when the UK's list of endangered birds was last updated in 2015.
But now it faces being moved straight to the 'red list' - indicating species of greatest concern - should the decline continue at the current rate.