House Finch

House Finch - Passeriformes Fringillidae Carpodacus mexicanus

 
 

Identification & Description:
• Medium-sized finch.
• Conical bill
• Long tail
• Distinctive call note often given in flight
• Male bright red on head, chest, and rump; female brown and striped.
• Bill short and thick, with rounded top edge.
• Two thin white wingbars.
• Size: 13-14 cm (5-6 in)
• Wingspan: 20-25 cm (8-10 in)
• Weight: 16-27 g (0.56-0.95 ounces)

Male:
• Red forehead, supercilium, breast and rump
• Streaked belly and undertail coverts
• Brown wings and tail
• Immature male resembles female

Female:
• Plainer face than Purple and Cassin's Finch
• Heavily streaked underparts
• Brown upperparts

Similar species:
The male House Finch can be told from Cassin's and Purple Finches by its streaked belly, browner back and nape, longer unforked tail and different call notes. Female House Finches have much plainer faces than the other finches. Pine Siskins are smaller with yellow patches in the wings and tail. Sparrows typically have more distinctive face patterns.

Life History Groupings
• Migration Status: Short distance migrant
• Breeding Habitat: Urban
• Nest Location: Mid-story/canopy nesting
• Nest Type: Open-cup
• Clutch Size: 2-6
• Length of Incubation: 12-14 days
• Days to Fledge: 11-19
• Number of Broods: 1-3
• Diet:
Almost Exclusively: Seeds
Lesser Quantities of: Insects

Facts
• The House Finch was originally a bird of the southwestern United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, and they quickly started breeding. They spread across the entire eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.

• The red or yellow color of a male House Finch comes from pigments that it gets in its food during molt. The more pigment in the food, the redder the male. Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can find, perhaps assuring that they get a capable male who can find enough food to feed the nestlings.

• When nestling House Finches defecate, the feces are contained in a membranous sac, as in most birds. The parents eat the fecal sacs of the nestlings for about the first five days. In most songbird species, when the parents stop eating the sacs, they carry the sacs away and dispose of them. But House Finch parents do not remove them, and the sacs accumulate around the rim of the nest.

Other Names
Roselin familiar (French)
Gorrión doméstico, Gorrión común, Gorrión mexicano (Spanish)

The house finch belongs to the family Fringillidae of the order Passeriformes. It is classified as Carpodacus mexicanus.

House Finch, common name for a small bird of the finch family, about 14 cm (about 5.5 in) long. Females and immature males are streaked light and dark brown; adult males have the head and breast various shades of red, rarely orange or yellow. It is a familiar bird throughout the western United States and Mexico, from the Great Plains to the Pacific coast. In the 1940s, a flock of caged California house finches was liberated on Long Island, New York, and bred successfully. Their descendants now occupy most of the eastern United States and are rapidly spreading westward toward the original range of the species. They are especially common in urban and suburban areas, hence the name house finch.

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