About The American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch is a member of the Fringillidae or finch family of birds. The finch group is the largest family of birds in the whole world. The American Goldfinch, however, can be identified easily by its yellow or golden color as its name implies.

During the spring and summer seasons, this bird is best distinguished by its bright yellow color, black cap and wings, wave-like or roller coaster flying motion and clear calling sound of “perchicoree, perchicoree.” And like most seed-eating members of the finch family, the American Goldfinch has short, heavy and conical beak.

The typical American Goldfinch measures an average of 4.5 inches long similar to the English sparrow. This bird changes all of its body feathers from its winter plumage to the breeding plumage. It is said to be the only member of the finch family to experience a second molting during springtime. The other species undergo molting only once every year during the fall.

This bird sheds all its feathers (molting) during springtime while its black wings and tail as well as its bill turn orange. The male American Goldfinch has a bright canary yellow plumage with a jet black cap. While flying, it assumes a white rump. On the other hand, the female during summer is olive yellow on her neck and breast.

The American Goldfinch is found in southern Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland and mostly in the U.S. As winter nears, it moves to the south such as in southern Canada including British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and most parts of the U.S. This small bird likes to stay in open places like farms, suburbs, gardens, orchards and roadsides.

This member of the finch family is sometimes mistaken as the Lesser Goldfinch which looks just like the American Goldfinch but a bit smaller and is seen sometimes in British Columbia.

A distinct behavior of the American Goldfinch is its being very sociable. It normally wants to be with its own kind while eating and flying except during the nesting period. During winter though, it mixes with the redpolls and siskins – its close relatives – when feeding in weedy fields and orchards near wooded locations.

The American Goldfinch is also cheerful and very musical all year round and monogamous most of the time. It can be found exclusively in flocks in the winter. While the regular gold finches are in Europe and America, the American Goldfinch can be found almost everywhere in North America except in the far north.


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