Bullfinches breed across Europe from Fenno-Scandia south to the uplands of Mediterranean countries and from Ireland east through most of continental Europe except for the plains of the Balkans, Ukraine and southern Russia. From the Caucasus, they are found east to northern Turkey and Iran, then across northern Asia from the Urals through northern Siberia to Kamchatka and Japan. Most populations are at least partly migratory - in winter their range extends to include much of the continental south - though the British race P.p.pileata is almost entirely sedentary.
    Bullfinches are found throughout mainland Britain. Their numbers have shown considerablt fluctuations over time, increasing rapidly during the 1950s to the extent of being a serious pest of fruit farms then declining steeply between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, before easing off and showing signs of an upturn by the turn of the century. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 recorded a 39% decrease in UK overall numbers since the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas, with the losses mostly concentrated in southeast England and northeast Scotland.
    In Wiltshire they are commonest in the wooded areas around the periphery of the county and rarest or completely absent from open upland areas. Though never rare (successive national atlases have recorded them in all of the county's 10km squares) they do appear to be on the increase in recent years: Birds of Wiltshire recorded them in 532 tetrads with breeding in 213. WTA2 recorded them in 579 tetrads, breeding in 309.

The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.