How Do You Identify a Finch Bird?


Quick Answer

A finch can be identified by examining its size, shape and color as well as listening to its song. Finches display strong sexual dimorphism, with females having different pattern-markings than males.

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Full Answer

Found year-round in North America, the house finch has a distinctive, long and twittering song, in contrast to the warbling notes of the purple finch, who appears infrequently at feeders. The male house finch and purple finch have a red rump, face and breast; however, unlike the purple finch, the house finch also has brown streaks on the belly. A female house finch is less flashy, with gray-brown feathers, while a female purple finch lacks the distinct white eye markings of the male.

True finches are passerine birds that belong to the family Fringillidae. Almost all of them are songbirds that eat seeds. However, the term "finch" is commonly applied to sparrows, buntings and Darwin's finches despite being technically inaccurate. Despite sharing a name with the estrildid finches, true finches and estrildid finches do not belong to the same family.

To identify a bird properly, quick sketches with clear labels are crucial. Pointing out distinct and unusual traits, such as an oddly-colored head or shape or the length of the wings, can help narrow down a list of likely candidates in a bird-watching guide.

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