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Cassin's or Purple Finch? Reno NV USA (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Yesterday (Dec 7, 20) I went to a local park (Rancho San Rafael) with loads of bushes with cherries which has attracted lots of finches. House, Cassin's and less frequently Purple Finch are all reported here. I am having trouble deciding whether I saw any Purple Finch. I have enclosed one photo that I think is a Female Cassin's Finch and 2 poor quality photos of a bird that I think is a Female Purple Finch. Can someone please tell me whether my guess is correct and what clues were used to figure this out. Both birds have a white eyebrow. Cassins Finch small.jpg Purple finch small2.jpg Purple finch small.jpg

lou salomon

the birdonist
all books packed away, but, as far as i remember such a clearly downcurved culmen of upper mandible is only shown by house finch.


Registered User
all books packed away, but, as far as i remember such a clearly downcurved culmen of upper mandible is only shown by house finch.
Agree with that, plus the face pattern of these birds is nowhere near as clear as that of Purple Finches imho.

The Bird Nuts

Birding Duo
Both are definitely Purple Finches. Head shape is wrong, culmen is not curved enough, and face pattern too bold for House. The lack of eyerings rules out Cassin's.

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
The first image looks like a fem/imm Purple Finch to me. Cassin’s are longer winged and House Finch dont show the white super afair. Not sure about 2 & 3.

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
Yeah, taking a look at the 2nd and 3rd photo, I now believe it is an immature, female Purple Finch.


Well-known member
Wow, I'm beginning to see why I had such problems figuring this out. As far as I can tell female House Finch don't have the "white supre afair"/white eyebrow. That is why I narrowed it down to Cassin's and Purple. I'm getting the feeling no one thinks these birds are Cassin's. That is a start. That leaves Purple Finches. Any more opinions would be welcome. Thanks!


Stop Brexit!
I'll change to Purple too - thought at first the culmen was too curved for that, but yep, the face pattern fits Purple better.


Well-known member
United States
All Purple I think, though I have no experience with Cassin's - no House Finches here, though.

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