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Birder's lifelist:The Azores Bullfinch or Priolo

The Azores Bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina), São Miguel Bullfinch, or Priolo, is a bird only found on the island of São Miguel. A member of the passerine/ true finch family, the rare Priolo averages 15–17 cm long and a weighs about 30 g. Like most finches it is stout, with short wings and a longer tail. It has a black cap, face, wings and tail and is mostly grey and brown – making it hard to spot. Males and females are identical and their call is a distinctive short, flute-like whistle.


The Priolo range is the Laurisilva forest of Eastern São Miguel, near Pica da Vara in the Serra da Tronqueira Mountains. They are found in fall in the Salto do Cavalo hills.  Invasive plants have made the piolo quite rare, but a major effort to restore the “cloud forests” of their habitat has helped them to recover. The Priolo has gone from 30–40 pairs in the late 1970s to about 800 individuals today .

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