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Spinus tristis

Common Name: American Goldfinch
Spinus tristis
Spinus tristis

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Spinus
Species: Spius tristis

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Adults are 5" long with 9" wingspans.

The American goldfinch male is a bright yellow with black wings and crown during the breeding season.

Females are a soft yellow, and do not have the distinct black cap.

Young and immature goldfinchs are a mix of brown and soft yellow.

Over the winter all goldfinches are a duller brown.

Habitat & Range

American goldfinches live in fields and forest edges.

Their range reaches across much of the United States. In the breeding season, their range reaches through southern Canada, and during their winter they shift to the southern United States and Mexico.

In New York they are year-round residents.


American goldfinches feed off of seeds as well as tree buds and insects.

Their song is a sweet rising and falling “to-WEE to-WEE to-WEE tweer tweer ti ti ti” or “pur-chick-or-ee”.

Life Cycle

The American goldfinch nests in shrubs in open areas, laying between 1 and 2 broods in a season.

Featured image by Will Sweet.


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