About Finches

About Finches
Finches, of the family Fringillidae, are seedeaters. There are nearly 20 species of finches in North America alone, with the American Goldfinch perhaps being one of the most recognized for its bright-yellow color and frequent stops at feeders.


Finches are passerine (perching) birds with short beaks and average from 4 to 6 inches in length (12 to 16 cm). The pine grosbeak is an exception and has been measured at 9 inches (23 cm).



"Winter finches" have been known to meander south one season and then north the next, and so could be said to have an erratic wintering range. The common redpoll may breed as far north as the Arctic, and the lesser goldfinch as far south as Mexico.


Many finches may not vary their location much at all; the Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill and House Finch maintain a steady year-round range.


Those that can be categorized into yellow finches are the pine siskin, American goldfinch, lesser goldfinch, Lawrence's goldfinch, evening grossbeak and Oriental greenfinch.


Those that can be categorized into red goldfinches are the common redpoll, hoary redpoll, rosy finch, purple finch, Cassin's finch, house finch, common rosefinch and Eurasian bullfinch.


Fringillids are distinct in that they have what bird expert Don Robertson describes as "stout, conical bills," and tough skulls, jaws and tongues that aid in shelling seeds.


Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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