House Finch
Carpodacus mexicanus
Family Ploceidae

* House finches are similar to purple finches, so you will need a field guide and binoculars to tell them apart. Their best distinguishing feature is their song.
* Males are yellowish to bright red, with dark brown streaks on their sides and bellies.
* Females are streaked and brown, with plain faces. Purple finch females have striped faces.
* Body and tail length: 5-5 3/4".

Natural History:
* Habitat: Cities, suburbs, and farms. Nests are shallow cups made of twigs, grasses, hair, string, cigarette butts, or wool, built in bird houses, hanging plants, branches, climbing vines, holes in trees, and under eaves.
* Range: Two disjunct populations of house finches exist; one in the western United States to southern Mexico, the other in the Northeast. The northeastern population was introduced on Long Island, N.Y. in the early 1940's. The birds now cover nearly all of northeastern North America.
* Voice: A loose, disjointed song, ending in a nasal wheer or che-urr.
* Behavior: Feeds exclusively on seeds: dandelions, sunflower seed. grasses, etc. Eggs are white, with black or brown spots.
* Native to the western United States and Mexico.

* House finches were formerly sold as pets because of their pretty color and pleasant song. Those in captivity were released when it became illegal to hold any native migratory bird captive.

* After their introduction to Long Island, house finches have increased dramatically in abundance and range in the Northeast. They are now one of the most abundant birds within their range and are common in all areas with human dwellings. They are uncommon in undeveloped areas of the Northeast.

* In their native deserts, house finches are good indicators of nearby water. The intensity of red in their plumage is determined by diet, and the reddest males are preferred by females as mates. Few other songbird species in northeastern North America are exclusively granivorous; that is, eating only seeds and feeding only seeds to their nestlings.



Created by: Niki Zhou and Carla Holleran
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: June 25, 2004
Last Modified: August 7, 2004
Expries: June 1, 2005