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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 04:46   #1
Adamos
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Question House/ Purple Finches

Hello, Ive been having trouble with my finch ID here at my backyard feeder in calif. Ive always assumed that everything similar to a house finch was a house finch, but now ive been trying to determine the difference between the House Finches and Purple Finches, which I believe I have been getting some of the later. Any tips on telling the difference? Also here are some pics, maybe someone could point it out if any of these is a purple finch. Also notice the House finch with the orange coloration, ive actually been seeing this variety more frequently now. Also, even more difficult is how do I tell the females of each apart? Thanks.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 05:03   #2
-25
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I came with this same question about a week ago, I was told the Orange color is just a House Finch variant, mainly caused by the food it eats. I personally like the orange ones more, I have even noticed 2 wiht a yellow color.

I myself don't see any purple finches in the photos you provided, all the males have the color, whether it is red/orange, the females are just the brown ones.

-Drake.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 05:08   #3
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Thanks. Actually I was wondering how I might tell the female house and female purple finches apart. Also, what should I expect if I do encounter a Purple finch?
thanks again.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 07:59   #4
Longspur23
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Here are a couple of photos I took recently. Although the quality isn't great, they do help show some of the differences. Females and juvenile males generally have white underparts that are heavily streaked and a bold white eyebrow, while the female House Finch is mainly brown with a plain brown head. Male House Finches have less reddish coloring and have brown streaks on the underparts as opposed to the widespread reddish coloration of the Purple Finch. The habits of Purple Finches are pretty similar to House Finches and they often will occupy the same feeder. Hope this helps.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 15:22   #5
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To me, the books dont seem to do a great job depicting purple finches. I used to wonder how I would tell them apart from house finches when I encounter them. All I can say is when you see one, you will know. To me, it is fairly easy to tell them apart, especially when they are both present.

Good luck!

David Pavlik
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 21:38   #7
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No purples in your pictures.

Below, female house finches on the left (and one male house)

Female purples on the right (and one male house)

Last edited by cavan wood : Monday 4th February 2008 at 03:37.
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Old Wednesday 8th March 2006, 22:43   #8
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One issue with Purple, Cassin's and House finches is that they can be variable is their amount of colour, streaking, etc. Our purple finches are more reddish than the ones we used to have 1200 kms to the south. I find in general the reddish finches ( including redpolls, pine grossbeaks, crossbills etc.) a more variable group of birds than most other passerines. Perhaps the red pigment is more maleable to evolve or intensity is influenced by a dietary variable.
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Old Thursday 9th March 2006, 00:33   #9
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finches

As I learned, on this very forum, House finches are heavily streaked on their bellies. I was also told that Purple finches "look like they were dipped in raspberry sauce. When you see the two side by side...there is no mistaking the difference.
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Old Thursday 9th March 2006, 04:20   #10
Adamos
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Thanks for the help y'all. yeah wow there is quite some difference after seeing some photos of each. It seems my bird book isnt as descriptive as it could be. I think ill now defenatly be able to tell the difference if I come across a purple.
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