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.
Breeding and Nesting
American Goldfinch: Four to six pale blue to white blue eggs are laid in a well-made cup of grass, bark strips, and plant down, and built in a small sapling or shrub. Incubation typically ranges from 10 to 12 days and is carried out by the female; male feeds her on the nest.
Foraging and Feeding
American Goldfinch: Feeds primarily on seeds; prefers hanging onto seed heads rather than feeding on the ground.
Suet, Millet, Thistle, Fruit, Sunflower Seeds (hulled)
American Goldfinch: Emits a jumbled series of musical warbles and trills, often with a drawn-out "baybee" note. Flight song resembles "per-chick-oree" or "po-tato-chips."
American Goldfinch: Yellow Warbler lacks black wings and tail. Lesser Goldfinch has yellow undertail coverts.