Finches & Allies

Pine Grosbeak

A pine grosbeak waits for its turn to visit a busy feeder. Photo by Jerry Singleton.

Look for The pine grosbeak is a large, stout finch with a short, heavy bill and a long, black tail. The male pine grosbeak’s head and back are a striking reddish-pink that spreads down onto its breast and belly. Its flanks and rump are gray, while its wings are black with two white wingbars. Female… Read more

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

Lawrence's goldfinch by Mike's Birds / Wikimedia Commons

Look For This handsome bird is mostly grayish. Adult male has a black face, yellow breast, and large yellow patches in the wings and on the rump. Female has an all-gray head and less yellow elsewhere. In flight, both sexes show white under-wing linings and a yellow rump. Lawrence’s goldfinch is 4 ¾ inches in… Read more

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser goldfinch photo by Alan D. Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

Look For The lesser goldfinch is so named because it is our smallest goldfinch (4 ½ inches long). Adult male is dark olive above with a black cap and yellow below. Breeding-plumaged male American goldfinch has a canary yellow back and white rump. Lesser goldfinch has a dark back and rump. Female is pale olive… Read more

White-winged Crossbill

White-winged crossbill by John Harrison / Wikimedia Commons

Look For White-winged crossbills are named for their best field mark (white wing bars). Red crossbills lack any white in the wings and are more brick red in color. Adult male is pinkish red overall with bold white wing bars on black wings. Females and young birds are brownish and very streaky overall; they also… Read more

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Gray-crowned rosy finch by Dominic Sherony / Wikimedia Commons

Look For Adult has gray head, black forehead and throat, and varying amounts of rose in the body and wing feathers. Breeding male has a blacker face, a black bill, and bright rosy patches on wings and flanks. Range from six to eight inches long. Listen For For such a beautiful finch, the gray-crowned rosy-finch’s… Read more

Lark Bunting

Lark bunting photo by Nick Varvel / Wikimedia Commons

Look For The lark bunting is 7 inches in length. Breeding-plumaged adult males are nearly all black with a large white wing patch and tail tips. Adult females and nonbreeding males are brown and streaky overall with a hint of the white wing patch and bold dark mustache lines on the sides of the throat… Read more

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting Photo by Flamewavefires via Wiki Commons

Look For Most of us don’t get to see the male snow bunting in its snowiest attire—its pure white-and-black breeding plumage worn when the birds are on the Arctic tundra. In winter, when they are present across much of northern North America, both males and females are rusty and white with black wingtips. The snow… Read more

Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Wikimedia Commons

Look For Few of us get to see the male Lapland longspur in his full breeding glory, with his black face outlined in white and the chestnut nape and collar. In winter males retain a partial collar of rust, a tan cheek outlined in dark, and heavy dark streaks on the sides. All plumages show… Read more

Dickcissel

Dickcissel

Look For Looking like a miniature meadowlark with its black V on a yellow breast, the breeding-plumaged male dickcissel has a conical pale gray bill and a chestnut shoulder patch. Winter male is faded overall. Female looks like female house sparrow but shows the rusty shoulder and a faint yellow wash on the breast. The… Read more

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll (Photo: Creative Commons)

Length: 5.25 inches Wingspan: 9 inches Look for The smallest of our red finches (5 inches long), the common redpoll looks like a pine siskin with a red cap on its head. Streaky on backs and sides, with a tiny yellow bill surrounded by a black chin, the common redpoll is an active, vocal, gregarious… Read more

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch (Photo: Creative Commons)

Look for The bright canary-yellow and black plumage of the breeding male American goldfinch has earned this species the nickname “wild canary.” American goldfinches appear very different in summer and winter. The male’s brilliant yellow body and black cap in summer give way to a drab, olive-brown plumage in winter. Female goldfinches, though never bright… Read more

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak (Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Look For The striking male evening grosbeak is a large, mustard-yellow finch with a big pale bill and a gold eyebrow. Huge white patches cover the bird’s back and flash in flight on the black wings. Females are mostly gray with light yellow patches and less white in the wings. Coloration does not change seasonally… Read more

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