The House Finch is slightly larger than goldfinches and is streaked with brown on the back and flanks. Its short, heavy bill has a curved culmen.
Males are rosy red (usually) to yellowish (occasionally) on the head, breast, and rump.
Females have an all brownish head, with a heavily but somewhat indistinctly streaked breast.
Seasonal change in appearanceNone.
JuvenileSimilar to adults.
HabitatThey occupy farms, canyons, cities, and suburbs. They have adapted readily to buildings and human habitation.
DietHouse Finches consume mostly vegetable matter, such as seeds and berries. They will also come to bird feeders for seeds.
BehaviorHouse Finches forage on the ground or in weed patches, in flocks except during the breeding season.
House Finches were at one time mostly limited to the western U.S. and Mexico. Caged birds released in New York in 1941 prospered and spread west and south to occupy most of the country. Now breeds across nearly the entire U.S. as well as southern Canada. Its population now appears stable in the U.S.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the House Finch.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Unlike most songbirds which feed their young an insect diet, House Finches feed their young regurgitated seeds.
House Finches are particularly susceptible to a bacterial eye disease that can cause blindness, something they can catch at busy bird feeders that aren’t kept clean and occasionally sterilized with bleach solution.
VocalizationsA pleasant, musical warble.
Builds a cup of grasses, weeds, and small twigs in a variety of locations including palm trees, conifers, hanging planters, and holes in buildings.
EggsNumber: Usually 4-5 eggs.
Color: Bluish white with dark markings.
Incubation and fledging:
Young hatch at about 13-14 days and fledge at about 14-16 days, though continuing to associate with parents for some time after leaving the nest