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American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Male

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Male Nonbreeding American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Male

Class: Aves
Family: Fringillidae
Common Name: American Goldfinch
Genus: Spinus
Species Name: tristis

About The American Goldfinch

A small (5 inches) finch, the male American Goldfinch in summer is most easily identified by its bright yellow body; black cap, wings, and tail; and conspicuous white rump patch. Female American Goldfinches are duller yellow overall than males, and lack black on the head. In winter, both sexes become duller yellow-brown on the back, head, and breast. The American Goldfinch breeds across much of the United States and southern Canada. In winter, northerly-breeding populations move south, expanding outside of this species’ breeding range into the coastal southeast, the southwest, northern Mexico, and the coast of California and Oregon. Birds breeding in the mid-latitudes migrate short distances, if at all. American Goldfinches breed in a variety of open habitats, including meadows, bushy fields, and (in modern times) urban and suburban yards. This species utilizes similar types of habitat in winter as it does in summer. American Goldfinches primarily eat seeds, including tree seeds and seeds of weedy groundcover plants. In appropriate habitat, American Goldfinches may be seen perched on the stalks of small plants while eating seeds from pods at the top. Goldfinches are also common feeder birds, and may be observed feeding in mixed groups of finches and other small songbirds. American Goldfinches are primarily active during the day.

Rights Holder: Unknown
Bibliographic Citation: Rumelt, Reid B. Spinus tristis. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Spinus tristis. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Trips Where Observed

Moving the Car
San Francisco 2007

Member Lifelists

New Jersey
North America
San Francisco
United States

Sites Where Observed



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