The sparkling American Goldfinch is a favorite in backyards across much of the United States. Males exhibit a strong seasonal difference in plumages, with the bright yellow of breeding males fading (through a late season molt) to a much duller color very similar to the females. Visit the Bent Life History page for additional details on this popular species.
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Males in breeding plumage are a bright, lemon yellow with black wings and a black cap.
Female plumage duller than male. Yellow below, olive yellow above.
Lacks black cap of breeding-plumaged male. Strong wingbars.
Seasonal change in appearance:
Male loses black cap, has strong wing-bars. Both sexes duller and browner in appearance. White undertail coverts.
Similar to female.
Found in weedy fields, farmlands, open woodlands, and along forest edge. Also frequents second-growth habitats, parks and suburban yards.
Seeds, occasionally insects. Readily attracted to backyard feeders for sunflower and Nyjer®. (WBFI)
Undulating, bouncy flight. Frequent flight call is per-chik-or-ree or po-ta-to-chip with emphasis on second syllable. Feeds in flocks. Often seen foraging for seeds in weeds, shrubs and trees.
Found throughout most of the United States some part of the year. Summer range extends into southern Canada, winter range into parts of Mexico.
Goldfinches produce one or two broods per year. Monogamous during the first nesting, females may switch mates after the first brood, leaving her original mate to take care of the fledglings.
The American Goldfinch is a late nester, often waiting well into the summer to begin nest building. Nests in shrubs or trees, generally 2-33 feet above the ground. Nest is a cup-shaped structure built from plant fibers and lined with plant down. Nest attached to branch with spider silk. Female incubates the eggs and both sexes care for the young.
- Number of eggs: 3-7, usually 4-6.
- Color: Light blue to greenish blue. No markings.
- Incubation and fledging: Young hatch at about 11-14 days. Young are able to fly when they are approximately 11-17 days old.
Visit the Birdzilla.com web site for additional informaiton.
Goldfinches are easily attracted to feeders. Unlike some species, they are willing to share feeders with others and longer feeders can sometimes be covered with black and gold.
The best choice is Nyjer® (sometimes called thistle) in a Nyjer feeder, which has smaller ports than standard seed feeders. Goldfinches will also readily visit sunflower feeders.
Visit A Bird Feeder Place for a full range of bird feeders, including tube feeders, hopper feeders and squirrel-proof feeders.