AMERICAN GOLDFINCH


Carduelis tristis


Description:

The American Goldfinch feeds on seeds of grasses, weeds and other plants. Goldfinches can often be found hanging upside-down on plants as they forage.


Appearance:

General: 4 to 5 inches in length.

Male Alternate: Yellow head, back, breast, and belly. Black forehead, wings, and tail. White wing bars, tertial edges, rump, and undertail. Short, pale yellow, conical bill. Short, forked tail. Pale pinkish legs.

Male Basic: Brownish-olive upperparts. Pale yellowish face. Olive-gray underparts. Black wings and tail with whitish edges. Whitish wing bars. Dark bill. Dark, grayish-brown legs.

Female Alternate: Greenish upperparts. Yellow underparts. Blackish-brown wing and tail feathers with whitish edges. White wing bars. Short, pale yellow, conical bill. Short, forked tail. Pale pinkish legs.

Female Basic: Olive-green crown, nape, and back. Olive-yellow chin, throat, and chest. Blackish-brown wings and tail with whitish edges. Buffy wing bars. Dark bill. Dark, grayish-brown legs.

Immature: Brown above. Pale yellow below. Blackish-brown wing and tail feathers. Buff wing bars and feather tips.


Habitat:

Weedy fields, cultivated land, orchards, and gardens.


Nesting:

4-6 light blue eggs. The eggs have a 14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in ? days. The nest is an open cup made from plant fiber and bark, and is built in a tree fork or bush. The female is fed by the male while she incubates the eggs.


Observed Locations:

  • Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego
  • Tijuana River Valley Estuary, Imperial Beach





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.