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The hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) is named for its tendency to eat hawthorn berries – haws are the red berries of the common hawthorn. Hawfinches have massive bills powerful enough to split even cherry stones, hence the Latin name Coccothraustes is derived from the Greek: kokkos is a seed or kernel and thrau means to break or to shatter. The birds love to feed on cherry, holly and plum stones, beechmast, ash ‘keys’, and seeds of hornbeam, elm, yew and hawthorn. Males and females are very similar – females show a small pale wing patch and are a little duller than males.
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