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Lesser Goldfinch

From Opus

Alternative name: Dark-backed Goldfinch, Arkansas Goldfinch[2]

Photo by MarysanSan Diego, California
Photo by Marysan
San Diego, California
Photo byRbroadwellSan Francisco, Bay Area California
Photo byRbroadwell
San Francisco, Bay Area California
Spinus psaltria

Carduelis psaltria, Astragalinus psaltria[2]


[edit] Identification


  • Yellow underparts
  • White patches on wings at base of primaries are diagnostic
  • Black upperparts
  • Long conical bill
  • Undertail has broad black tip

Females: olive-green upperparts, yellow-buff underparts

[edit] Similar Species

American Goldfinch lacks the black terminal band on the underside of the tail.

[edit] Distribution

Southwestern United States through Mexico and Central America to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru in South America.

Northern populations migratory, southernmost US and the rest are residents year round. Casual vagrant east to the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

[edit] Taxonomy

Formerly included in genus Carduelis.

[edit] Subspecies[1]

Five subspecies are recognized:

  • S. p. hesperophilus:
  • S. p. witti:
  • Tres Marías Islands (off western Mexico)
  • S. p. psaltria:
  • South-central US to southern Mexico (Guerrero, Veracruz and Oaxaca)
  • S. p. jouyi:
  • South-eastern Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula and northern Quintana Roo)
  • S. p. colombianus.:

[edit] Habitat

Open habitats with scattered trees and brush, especially near water. Common near human dwellings; comes readily to feeders, especially for thistle seed.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet includes tree buds and weed seeds. Favors thistle seed and sunflowers.

[edit] Breeding

They build a cup-shaped nest of plant material in a bush or tree and 3-4 blue-white eggs are laid.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia

[edit] External Links


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