House Finch

House Finch


Southern British Columbia, Northern Idaho, Wyoming, West Nebraska, most of western U.S. to Mexico.


Widely varied: towns, ranches, open woods, canyons, coastal scrub, deserts, woodland, bushy areas of mountain district.


Male: red breast and rump, striped belly and side, red stripe over eye. Female: sparrow-like, gray-brown above with underparts streaked with dusky, face has strong stripings, stubby bill.

House Finch

It takes 105 days for a complete molt. Their song is musical, loose and disjointed. They use vocalizations and visual cues to communicate. These birds do considerable damage to California orchards of peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and nectarines.


These birds are monogamous, with one mate through each nesting. The male defends the nesting territory. The female builds the nest, incubates and broods the young. The nest is usually 5 - 7 feet above the ground in a bush, tree, cactus or building. It is open and cuplike and made of grasses, plant stems, leaves, stems, twigs, hair, string, cotton and wool. They will occasionally use old nests of other birds. Four or five blue-green spotted eggs are laid anytime from February to August. Incubation is 12 - 16 days. The young can leave the nest 11 - 19 days after hatching.

Interesting Facts:

"Carpodacus" is Greek for "fruit-eater." This bird has been introduced in Hawaii and is established on all of the main islands. Color has changed to yellow, red and orange.

House Finch

Members of the finch family are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and may not be kept in captivity without a permit. In the 1940\\\\\\\'s an illegal shipment of house finches, for the cagebird trade, was intercepted in New York City. The birds were released on Long Island and established a small breeding enclave that struggled for several years to survive. Since then, they have spread all along the Atlantic seaboard.

House Finch
Class: birds
Genus: Carpodacus
Species: mexicanus
Length: 5 - 5 3/4 inches
Weight: 2/3 ounces (21 grams)
Average Lifespan: 5 years
Wild Diet: Fruit, blossoms, buds: 86% of the diet is weed seeds, especially thistle, dandelions and noxious weeds. Will eat insects during the breeding season. Also forages in towns for crumbs and food scraps.
Predators: Raptors, snakes, some carnivorous animals.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Desert Zone

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