American Goldfinch

Scientific Name: Caruelis tristis

Diet: The American Goldfinch eats almost entirely seeds. They eat seeds from grass and weeds and trees. The seeds they eat from grass and weeds include sunflower, thistle, dandelion, and ragweed, and some trees they eat seeds from are western red cedar, elder, elm, and birch. American Goldfinches also eat some insects during the breeding season, particularly aphids.

Habitat: American Goldfinches live in open areas with some shrubs and trees nearby. They can be found in overgrown fields and grasslands, city parks, thickets, suburban areas, backyards, and orchards.

Sound: The American Goldfinch’s song is a combination of trills and clear whistled notes and chirps that are repeated several times. The call is a scratchy ti-chi! ti-chi! ti-chi!

Nesting: American Goldfinches don’t nest until late in summer. The nest is placed in a shrub or sapling. It is made of spider webs, strips of bark, and grass, and lined with thistle down. The nest takes about 6 days to build, and it is about 3 inches across when it is finished. American Goldfinches lay 4 to 6 eggs, and incubate them for 12 to 14 days. When the young hatch they are helpless. The young are fed insects.

Behavior: American Goldfinches are acrobatic foragers. They hang onto seedheads  with their claws while eating seeds from the plant they are on.

Description/field marks: American Goldfinches are about 4 to 5 inches long, and have wingspans of about 7 ½ to 9 inches. During the breeding season the males are bright yellow on the throats, breasts, undersides, backs, and napes, have black wings with a few streaks of white, black crowns, and have white undertail coverts. Males have orangish pink bills. The females are dull yellowish brown everywhere the males are bright yellow, and the females lack a black crown. The females also have black wings with a few streaks of white. Females have pinkish brown bills. During the winter the male looks the same as the female.

How to attract: Put out a feeder to attract American Goldfinches. They especially like thistle seed.


American Goldfinch

Male Breeding American Goldfinch


This entry was posted in finches. Bookmark the permalink.