American Goldfinch

Spinus tristis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Finches (Fringillidae)

Code 4

AMGO

Code 6

CARTRI

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The American Goldfinch's range is fairly large, reaching up to nearly 8 million square kilometers. It can be found in native areas such as Canada, Bahamas, Mexico and the United States. The population of the American Goldfinch is currently believed to be quite extensive, around 24 million individual birds. Due to the large size of this species' global population, the American Goldfinch has an evaluation of Least Concern. This is a downgrade from Lower Risk, which was the rating in 2000. There is not any concern that the population of the American Goldfinch will face immediate decline.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

American Goldfinch: Male is a small, noisy finch with a bright yellow body, black cap, wings, and tail, and white rump and undertail coverts. Wings have flashy white patches and bright yellow shoulder bar. Bill is pink and conical. Female is duller with olive back and lacks black cap and yellow shoulder bars. Winter male has olive-gray to olive-brown upperparts, paler underparts, yellow shoulder bar, white wing bar, dark bill, and may show black on forehead and yellow on throat and face. Winter female is duller with buff wing and shoulder bars, and lacks yellow and black on face and head. Juvenile resembles winter female but has yellow wash on throat and breast.


Range and Habitat

American Goldfinch: Breeds from southern British Columbia east to Newfoundland and south to California, Utah, southern Colorado, central Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the Carolinas. Spends winters throughout much of U.S., especially across the southern states and into northern Mexico; prefers brushy thickets, weedy grasslands, and nearby trees.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"per-chick-oree"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The American Goldfinch changes from winter plumage to breeding plumage by a complete molt of its body feathers. It is the only member of its family to have this second molt in the spring; all the other species have just one molt each year in the fall.
  • Brown-headed Cowbirds may lay an egg in a Goldfinch nest, but the hatchling will usually die because the seed-based diet that the parents provide cannot support it.
  • They are one of the latest nesting birds, starting in late June or early July, when most other songbirds are finishing with breeding. Their late timing may be related to the availability of suitable nesting materials and seeds for feeding young.
  • A group of goldfinches has many collective nouns, including a " 007", "charm", "rush", "treasury", and "vein" of goldfinches.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for American Goldfinch

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
ShoulderX
The short feathers overlying the median secondary coverts on the top of the wing. They are located near the back and can be seen as the “first row” of feathers on the birds wing. They are also called marginal coverts and lesser secondary coverts.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X