What kinds of finches can you find in the United States?
Finches are incredibly beautiful birds and a lot of fun to see in your backyard.
fortunately, about all of them visit bird feeders, so you have a good prospect of attracting multiple types of finches to your yard. If you’re lucky, you may even see a finch at my bird feeding station right now! I have a LIVE high-definition television camera watching my bird feeders 24/7. ?
Did you know that 20 types of finches live in the United States?
Below you will learn more about each species AND how to identify them by batch OR sound. Make sure to pay attention to the range maps to see which finches live near you!
#1. American Goldfinch
- Spinus tristis
- In summer, males are a vivid yellow with a black cap and black wings. Females are a duller yellow without a black cap.
- In winter, both sexes look the same and turn a pale brown/olive color. They’re identified by their black wings and white wing bar.
These small and colorful finches are relatively common in the United States.
And luckily, American Goldfinches are relatively easy to attract to bird feeders! Try offering their favored foods, sunflower kernels and Nyjer seed, which many other birds don ’ metric ton corrode .
It’s also helpful to include bird feeders specially designed for goldfinches. These belittled birds are easily scared off by larger “ bullies. ” They ’ ll prize having places that only they can use ! I like the fact they can feed in any placement, even top down .
American Goldfinch Range Map
American Goldfinches are strict vegetarians. Their diet is entirely made of seeds with no insects, which is rare in the shuttlecock world. naturally, they feast on seeds from asters, thistles, sunflowers, grasses, and many types of trees .
Because of their diet, American Goldfinches breed later than other birds. They wait until June or July, when most plants are in full seed production, ensuring there ’ s adequate food for them to feed their babies .
To identify them by sound, listen for a pretty series of musical trills and warbles .
#2. House Finch
- Haemorhous mexicanus
- Adult males are rosy red around their heads and upper breasts. They have brown streaks on their back, tail, and belly.
- Females are brown with streaks on their back, tail, and belly.
- Both sexes have notched tails, and conical beaks designed to eat seeds.
It’s common to see House Finches in the United States near people.
look for them around buildings, backyards, parks, and early urban and suburban areas .
House Finch Range Map
In fact, House Finches are often the first birds to discover new bird feeders. These birds are intensely curious and rarely travel alone, so their arrival much helps other birds find your feeders excessively ! I see them eating sunflower seed, Nyjer seeded player, and safflower in my yard .
House Finches have an enjoyable song, which can be heard year-round. Listen below to a series of disorderly, warble notes .
# 3. Pine Siskin
- Spinus pinus
- Both sexes are small, brown, and streaked with fine yellow edging on their wings and tails.
- Sharply pointed bill and a short, forked tail and long pointed wingtips.
- The only finch in the United States where males and females look the like .
Pine Siskins are social and search for food in flocks while chirping nonstop to each other. They don ’ triiodothyronine evening stop chattering when flying !
Pine Siskin Range Map
Pine Siskins feed at backyard feeders broadly in the winter. They prefer to eat smaller seeds without tough shells, such as sunflower or Nyjer seeds.
ache Siskins are typically found in interracial evergreen or deciduous forests, but they will move to a modern stead in search of food, like scraggy fields, backyards, or gardens .
Listen below to Pine Siskin’s song, a twittering warble that rises and falls in pitch. They randomly throw in a “ ZZZzzzzzreeee ” that rises in sales talk always so frequently. You will notice they sound more reedy than other finches in the United States .
# 4. evening grosbeak
- Coccothraustes vespertinus
- Both sexes have a large, thick, conical beak and are the size of an American Robin.
- Males are yellow and black with a prominent white patch in the wings and a bright yellow stripe over the eye.
- Females are mostly gray with white and black wings and a greenish-yellow tinge on their neck and sides.
Evening Grosbeaks are one of the largest finches in the United States.
typically, they are found in the northern coniferous forests, and in winter, they can be found pretty a lot anywhere as they search for food .
Evening Grosbeaks are known for their large and strong bill. They use these bills to crack receptive big seeds that early birds are unable to open .
Evening Grosbeak Range Map
In fact, these finches will show up at feeders far south of their normal winter range, which provides a treat for backyard birders. You can attract them with sunflower seeds placed onto a large platform self-feeder, which gives these birds ample board to land and consume .
Evening Grosbeaks are one of the few finches in the United States without a song. But they do have some simple calls, including sweet, piercing notes and barbed tweedle, which you can hear below !
# 5. Red Crossbill
- Loxia curvirostra
- Sparrow-sized. Look for their distinctive crisscrossed bills (which means the upper and lower tips of their beak don’t align; they cross, like crossing your fingers)
- Males are red overall with darker brownish-red wings and white wing bars.
- Females are full-bodied and yellowish with dark unmarked wings.
As their name suggests, Red Crossbills have crisscrossed bills, similar to if you cross your fingers. They adapted these queerly shaped bills to help them break into tightly closed cones, giving them an advantage over other finch species in the United States .
They ’ re found in big coniferous forests during their breed season, specially spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, or larch with late cone crops. But in winter, they wander wherever they need to go to find food. While not incredibly common, they will sometimes visit bird feeders and eat sunflower seeds .
Red Crossbill Range Map
Red Crossbills are highly dependent on conifer seeds. In fact, they even feed them to their babies rather of insects like most early songbirds. These finches typically breed in belated summer but can actually breed any time during the year if a large enough cone crop is available .
Males sing a variably sweet warble, which sounds like “chipa-chipa-chipa, chee-chee-chee. “ Females rarely whistle, but they have call notes that are sharp and metallic .
# 6. Purple Finch
- Haemorhous purpureus
- Small, with a conical seed-eating bill.
- Males have a raspberry red head, breast, and back.
- Females have prominent streaks of white and brown below, with strong facial markings, including a whitish eyebrow and a dark line down the side of the throat.
Male Purple Finches are beautiful and described as looking like they were dipped in raspberry juice.
Purple Finches use their big beaks and tongues to crush seeds and extract the nut. This is beneficial news program because they ’ ll besides visit bird feeders ! Your best chance to attract them is using black-oil sunflower seeds. Having conifer trees in your yard is besides a great way to encourage these finches to visit .
Purple Finch Range Map
Purple Finches can be challenging to identify because they look incredibly similar to the more common House Finch. I ’ ve made this err many times, believing that I saw a Purple finch when it was, in fact, just another House Finch. To tell them apart, look at their rear. The Purple Finch ’ s back has red color, while the back of a House Finch has none .
exchangeable to other finches in the United States, males sing a rich, musical warble. Listen below !
# 7. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
- Pheucticus ludovicianus
- Stocky birds with a large, trianglar bill. About the size of an American Robin.
- Males have black backs and wings, with a distinctive red mark on their white breast.
- Females are heavily streaked with a white eyebrow and a pale bill.
It ’ second easy to see how these beautiful finches got their name. One look at the males, and you’ll immediately notice the bright red plumage topping their white breasts. On the other hand, females can be hard to identify, as they look exchangeable to many other birds .
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks like to visit bird feeders, where it uses its huge triangular bill to crack open seeds. I ’ ve never seen one of these finches use a metro feeder ; I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think the perches provide adequate space for them. If you want to attract them, the best food to use is sunflower seeds set out on a platform feeder .
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Range Map
Rose-breasted Grosbeak males sing to establish territories and attract females. When the female shows up, the male sometimes plays hard-to-get, rejecting her for a day or two before finally accepting her as a mate! To make up for this, they give the female a break and ride on the nest to keep the egg warm .
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are known for their beautiful song. It sounds alike to an american Robin but better ! Listen for a long series of notes that surface and fall. If you hear one, make certain to look for the male singing from an elevated perch .
# 8. Blue Grosbeak
- Passerina caerulea
- Stocky finch with a huge, triangular bill.
- Males are deep, rich blue with a tiny black mask in front of the eyes, chestnut wing bars, and a black and silver beak.
- Females are primarily cinnamon-brown. The color is richer on the head, paler on the underparts; their tails are bluish.
Blue Grosbeaks like seeds and grains at bird feeders in shrubby backyards because they feel more protected. You ’ ll typically hear them singing before you see them .
Blue Grosbeaks Range Map
Blue Grosbeaks are very diffident, specially around humans, which makes them very unmanageable to observe. Interestingly, both males and females have a weird habit of twitching their tails sideways, although the reason for this behavior is unknown.
Blue Grosbeaks have also been known to “sidle,” where they walk sideways along branches, as seen in parrots.
listen below as the male Blue Grosbeak sings a musical warble that lasts for 2 or 3 seconds .
# 9. Black-headed Grosbeak
- Pheucticus melanocephalus
- Both sexes have large heads, thick beaks, short and thick necks, and a short tail that gives them a compact, chunky look.
- Males are an orange-cinnamon color with a black head and black and white wings.
- Females and immature males have grayish bills and flash bright yellow under the wings when flying.
Black-headed Grosbeaks like to hide in thick foliage and are known to hop around while searching for food. Their giant star beaks are perfectly adapted for cracking seeds, but they besides use them to crush hard-bodied invertebrates like snails !
Black-headed Grosbeak Range Map
Like other finches in the United States, you can attract Black-headed Grosbeaks by providing sunflower seeds. But interestingly, this species has a sweet tooth and is besides known to visit ambrosia feeders ! They will nest in your backyard and garden if there ’ s adequate screen and water nearby .
Both male and female Black-headed Grosbeaks sing. The female birdcall is not as long and not as loud, and she sings less than the male. The males sing a rich sung with high notes from treetops. Listen below:
# 10. Common Redpoll
- Acanthis flammea
- Both sexes are small, white, and brown. Look for streaks on their sides and a small red patch on their forehead.
- Males have a pale red vest on the chest and upper flanks.
Redpolls visit backyard bird feeders, especially during the winter. Due to their little bill size, they prefer eating little seeds like Nyjer ( thistle ) and shelled sunflower when visiting feeders .
Common Redpoll Range Map
Like many finches in the United States, Common Redpolls have a rollercoaster-like flying style.
Redpolls travel in flocks of up to several hundred birds. They move identical fast, gathering seeds in scraggy fields or small trees one hour and swirling away in a mass of chattering birds the future .
Listen below to the Redpoll song, a combination of one or repeated calls ( “ chit-chit-chit-chit ” ). Their name notes are a whistle that sounds like “ swee-ee-eet. ”
These finches travel capital distances and can turn up about anywhere ! For example, one bird banded in Michigan showed up in Siberia. Another one in Belgium was found again in China !
# 11. Cassin ’ s Finch
- Haemorhous cassinii
Read more : Gulls Win Over Canucks 3-2
- Small finches with short-medium tails, streaked feathers, and thick bills.
- Males are rosy pink all over with more red on top of their heads.
- Females and young Cassin’s Finches are brown and white birds with dark streaks on the chest and underparts.
Male Cassin’s get the red on the top of their head from eating colorful foods like the orange berries of firethorn plants.
Cassin ’ s Finch Range Map
Cassin’s Finches visit feeders in the winter that provide sunflower seeds. They besides like shrubs with fruit such as mulberry, pyracantha, or grape bushes. interestingly, they crave salt and are frequently found visiting deposits of minerals on the ground .
Their songs tend to imitate other birds, and both males and females sing. Listen below as a male Cassin ’ s Finch sings a elated birdcall with a quick series of shortstop sounds .
# 12. White-winged Crossbill
- Loxia leucoptera
- Crisscrossed bill used to separate pine cone scales to access the seeds.
- Males are rose-pink with black wings and tails. Look for two white lines of contrasting color across the middle of the wing.
- Females and young males are yellowish but with the same wing and tail pattern as the adult males.
White-winged Crossbills get their name from the shape of their bill! These finches evolved these alone beaks to open up pine cones so that they can eat the seeds inside .
individual White-winged Crossbills can eat up to 3,000 conifer seeds each day .
In fact, some people can locate crossbills by hearing them crunching while opening cones in the trees .
White-winged Crossbill Range Map
You can sometimes attract these finches to backyard feeders in the United States by offering hulled sunflower seeds.
Both sexes sing a assortment of vigorous and confused tweedle, warbles, and rattles. Listen below!
#13. Pine Grosbea k
- Pinicola enucleator
- Large, plump finches. Look for dark gray wings with two white lines across the middle.
- Males are reddish-pink and gray.
- Females and young males are grayish with tints of reddish-orange or yellow on the head and rump.
Pine Grosbeaks are one of the largest finches in the United States!
If one lands on your feeders, they are typically easily to identify since they ’ rhenium bigger than most other birds .
Pine Grosbeaks frequently visit feeders, especially during the winter. If you want to attract them, try using a hopper or platform feeder because of the boo ’ mho larger size. Fill the feeders with sunflower seeds .
Pine Grossbeak Range Map
Pine Grosbeaks are relatively easy to find and see due to their slow-moving (some people call sluggish) behavior. In addition, they ’ re relatively domesticate and don ’ metric ton daunt easily .
Male Pine Grosbeaks sing a high-pitched warble that goes up and down. Listen below ! Females don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate sing identical frequently .
#14. Hoary Redpoll
- Acanthis hornemanni
- Tiny, pale white birds with gray-brown streaks, dark-gray tails, and wings, with bold white wing bars. Look for small red patches on the forehead.
- Feathers are fluffy, making them look heavier.
- Males have a reddish-pink chest.
- Females lack the reddish-pink chest.
The Hoary Redpoll breeds in the arctic tundra and can live and survive in freezing winter weather. Most people never see these finches because not much refinement exists in the places they live. They get their name from the way they look : “ canescent ” is for the crisp feather, and “ redpoll ” refers to the bolshevik bandage on their drumhead .
Hoary Redpoll Range Map
These finches are rare visitors to bird feeders in the United States since they spend summers up north. however, Hoary Redpolls come confederacy when the weather turns cold and food handiness is barely. If you ’ re extremely lucky, you may spot one visiting your yard eating Nyjer seeds or black-oil sunflower seeds .
Redpolls can store seeds in pouches in their throat, kind of like a chipmunk stashing seeds in their cheeks. This lets them cursorily collect seeds, then regurgitate them for husking and eating when they ’ re back in a shelter and condom topographic point .
Male Hoary Redpoll songs are a trill that often lacks pauses, sometimes followed by a slow twitter.
#15. Lesser Goldfinch
- Spinus psaltria
- Males are bright yellow below with a glossy black cap and white patches in the wings; black tail and backs can be glossy black or sometimes dull green.
- Females and young males have olive backs, dull yellow underparts, and black wings marked by two whitish bars on the wings.
The Lesser Goldfinch is one of the smallest finches in the United States .
Look for these birds gathered in large groups, that can number up to several hundred individuals. When flying, they have the lapp roller coaster stylus flight as the American Goldfinch .
Lesser Goldfinch Range Map
Lesser Goldfinches are much found in the suburb, where they are park visitors to feeders. These small finches eat sunflower seeds, along with the thin-hulled seeds of Nyjer/thistle.
The male ’ randomness song is a rapid medley of twittering notes, lasting up to 10 seconds .
#16. Lawrence’s Goldfinch
- Spinus lawrencei
- Small finches.
- Males are primarily gray with yellow on the breast, upper belly, wings, and back. Their chin, face, and crown of the head are black.
- Females are similar but have brown above, with no black in the face and less yellow in the plumage.
Lawrence ’ randomness Goldfinches are one of the most beautiful finches in the United States .
interestingly, these birds are highly mobile because they live in extremely arid areas. They move round constantly looking for places that provide food and water system .
Lawrence ’ s Goldfinch Range Map
Lawrence’s Goldfinches don’t get their yellow breeding feathers through molting (like most birds). alternatively, the feathers become yellower as they wear, shedding their brown tinge and exposing chicken parts of the feather below. No other goldfinches acquire breeding feather in this manner .
Lawrence’s Goldfinches are sometimes attracted to feeders. Your best bet is to fill them with Nyjer or shelled sunflower seeds .
listen below as the male Lawrence ’ s Goldfinch sings respective high-pitched notes mix with some of their call notes. typically they are more melodious than other finches and much imitate other birds .
#17. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
- Leucosticte tephrocotis
- Males are a rich brown. Look for pink plumage on the body, a gray head, and a black forecrown, throat, and bill.
- Females are similar but with fewer amounts of pink, and their bill is yellow.
These finches are found at high elevations in the United States!
Look for them high on mountains or cliffs where they forage among loose stones, glaciers, meadows, and even avalanche areas. They even nest on the slopes of Mt. McKinley, which is the highest top out in North America .
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Range Map
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches may visit backyard shuttlecock feeders in the winter when they come down a piece from the mountains. They like to eat black oil sunflower seeds scattered on the ground or in platform feeders.
Listen below to the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch chatter cheep peep song .
#18. Black Rosy-Finch
- Leucosticte atrata
- Medium-sized and chunky finches, with a conical bill and a notched tail.
- Males are brownish and have some pink highlights and a yellow bill.
- Females are blackish overall with pink highlights on the wings and lower belly and a gray crown. They have a black bill.
Black Rosy-Finches are incredibly unique birds. To find them in summer, you ’ ll need to head above the tree tune. They nest on the sides of cliffs and early mountainous areas where few people ever travel .
Black Rosy-Finch Range Map
In winter, they come down from the mountains a bit to escape the cold. They form large flocks and roost together in caves, mineshafts, and inside barns .
Black Rosy-Finches will even visit bird feeders in the United States during winter! To attract them, try offering sunflower and Nyjer seeds on platform feeders or scattering them on the ground .
Black Rosy-Finches do not have a song, but they give low cheep note calls .
#19. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
- Leucosticte australis
- Medium-sized, with cinnamon-brown on their back, breast, neck, face, and black forehead. Red or pink on their belly, rump, and wings.
- Males are more stocky, with a conical bill and a grayish crown and brown cheeks.
- Females differ slightly; they have a black bill during the breeding season and a yellow bill during the nonbreeding season.
Look for Brown-capped Rosy-Finches in the high mountains, most often above the tree line. They breed wherever they can find a proper nest site. potential locations include the sides of cliffs, inside caves, under big rocks, or even on the rafters of old buildings !
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch Range Map
This species has the smallest scope of the three species of Rosy-Finches in the United States .
If you want to attract Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, you’ll want to use tube feeders or hopper feeders. They prefer to eat sunflower seeds and Nyjer seeds. Your best luck to see one is during winter when they come down from the mountains .
Brown-capped Rosy-Finches do not have a song, but their birdcall sounds like a buzzy peep. Listen below .
#20. Cassia Crossb ill
- Loxia sinesciuris
- Small but stocky with a notched tail. It’s crisscrossed bill is thicker than other crossbills.
- Males have grayish-brown bodies that are dashed with fiery reds and orangish hues.
- Females are grayish-green overall with a tad of yellow on the belly.
Cassia Crossbills are singular as they are ONLY found in a little depart of Idaho .
Unlike other crossbill species, they don ’ thymine migrate, choosing to stay put all year rung in the like spot. Their geographic isolation and small population make them vulnerable to extinction .
Cassia Range Map
Cassia Crossbills are closely related to the much more widespread Red Crossbill. In fact, these birds used to be considered the same species until it was realized the Cassia ’ s wear ’ thyroxine crossbreed, have compact bills, and don ’ t leave Cassia County, Idaho .
Cassia Crossbills sing like other crossbills, but their songs are long and have lower-pitched notes .
Which of these finches have you seen before in the United States?
Leave a gloss below !
To learn more about birds that live near you, check out these other guides!
The range maps below were liberally shared with license from Birds of the World, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I use their site OFTEN to learn newly data about birds !
Category : Birds
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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