Fringillid FINCHes of North America

Order Passeriformes   Family Fringillidae

The true finches of family Fringillidae are predominantly seed-eating songbirds. They vary from 9-23 cm. They typically have strong, stubby beaks, which in some species can be quite large. Finches are usually are inhabitants of well-wooded areas, but some can be found on mountains or even in deserts. True finches have a bouncing flight like most small passerines, alternating bouts of flapping with gliding on closed wings. The nests are basket-shaped and usually built in trees.

They are not closely related to the Estrildid Finches.


Genus Acanthis
All redpolls are northern breeding woodland species, associated with birch trees. They are small birds, brown or grey-brown above and with a red forehead patch. The adult male's breast is washed in red, but in females and young birds the buff breast and white belly are streaked with brown. The bill is small and yellow. Some birds, particularly young ones, are difficult to assign to species.

Redpoll, Common  Acanthis flammea  Found: Northern parts of North America, Europe, Asia
The Common Redpoll has brown and white plumage; brown steaks on sides; 1 bold white wing-bar 1 fainr wing-bar; red patch on forehead; yellow bill; black patch around bill.
Similar to: Hoary Redpoll. Hoary Redpolls are lighter on the average than are Common Redpoles. This is especially true for a front view.
Image by:  1) D. Gordon E. Robertson - Ottawa, Ontario  2) Eugene Beckes  3, 7, 8) Estormiz - Finland  4)  Peter de Wit - Ontario   5) Bill Bouton -  Michigan  6) Cephas - Quebec, Canada  
1) Female  5) Male


Redpoll, Hoary also Artic Redpoll  Acanthis hornemanni  Found: Northern parts of North America, Europe, Asia
The Hoary Redpoll has brown and white plumage; pale steaks on flanks; 1 white wing; red forehead; black chin.
Similar to: Common Redpoll. Hoary Redpolls lighter on the average than are Common Redpoles. This is especially true for a front view.
Image by: 1) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow region   2, 3) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland   4) dFaulder   5)  Seabrook Lechie - Ontario 
5) Comparison of female Hoary Redpoll (front) and Common Redpoll (rear). Both are first year.




Genus Chloris
The greenfinches were previously in genus Carduelis.

Greenfinch, Oriental
also Gray-capped Greenfinch  Chloris sinica  Found: North America, Asia
Image by: 1, 2) Alpsdake - Japan  3) Aaron Maizlish - China



Genus Fringilla

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla    Found: North America (infrequent), Europe, Asia, Africa
The Brambling has orange breast; white belly; dark spotted flank; white rump. Breeding male has dark upperparts; black head, bill. Females and nonbreeding males have yellow bill.
Similar to: Chaffinch. Male Chaffinch has blue-gray crown; male Brambling has black head. Chaffinch has white shoulder patch and white wing-bar.
Similar to: Evening Grosbeak. Male Brambling has orange front of neck; male Evening Grosbeak has black neck front. Male Evening Grosbeak has white wing; male brambling doesn't.
Image by: 1 ) Marcin Moga - Poland  2) Frans Schouwenburg - Rotterdam  3) Maris Pukitis - Latvia  4) Byerly - Asia   5) Chris Cant   6) Angie & Chris Pye  7) Marek Szczepanek  8) Rene Jakobson   9) Cristiano Crolle - Arese, Italy
1, 2, 3) Female  5, 6) nonbreeding male  7, 8) breeding male



Genus Loxia 
Crossbills are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation to assist the extraction of the seeds from the cone. These birds are typically found in higher northern hemisphere latitudes, where their food sources grows. They will erupt out of the breeding range when the cone crop fails. Crossbills breed very early in the year, often in winter months, to take advantage of maximum cone supplies.

Crossbill, Red Loxia curvirostra  Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa
The male Red Crossbill tends to be red or orange, females tend to be green or yellow, but there is much variation. There are 9 different variants which evolved to feed on different species of conifer seeds. It has blackish-brown wings, tail.
Similar to: White-winged Crossbill. The White-winged Crossbill has white wing-bars, the Red Crossbill does not.
Image by: 1) Mary Harrsch - Oregon  2) Alastair Rae - England  3) Alan D. Wilson - Oregon  4)  dfaulder  5, 6, 7) Alan - Oregon    8) Elaine R Wilson - Oregon
1) Edited out adult to focus on juvenile  2) Juvenile  3, 4) Female  5 - 8) Male


Crossbill, White-winged also Two-barred Crosswing  Loxia leucoptera Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The species has has two subspecies: White-winged Crossbill (Eurasian) Loxia leucoptera bifasciata and White-Winged Crossbill (North America) Loxia leucoptera leucoptera. The male tends to be red or pinkish, females green or yellowish, but there is much variation. They have white wing-bars.
Similar to: Pine Grosbeak. White-winged Crossbill has a crossed bill, shorter tail, and is smaller than Pine Grosbeak.
Similar: Red Crossbill. The White-winged Crossbill has white wing-bars, the Red Crossbill does not.
Image by: 1) Bob Devlin - New Jersey  2, 6) Dominic Sherony   3) Michelle St.Sauveur - Rhode Island    4) John Harrison - Massachusetts   5) Kent McFarland - Vermont  7) MPF - Yorkshire
1, 2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male
1 - 6) L. l. leucoptera  7) L. l. bifasciata




Genus Pinicola Closely related to Pyrrhula
Most grosbeaks are in Family Cardinalidae

Grosbeak, Pine Pinicola enucleator   Found: North America, Europe (rarely)
The Pine Grosbeak has long black tail; black wings with white wing-bars; thick bill. Male has rose-red head, back, rump. Female has olive-yellow head, rump; gray back, underparts.
Similar to: White-winged Crossbill. White-winged Crossbill has a crossed bill, shorter tail, and is smaller than Pine Grosbeak.
Image by: 1) Daniel Arndt - Alberta, CA  2) Bill Bouton - Michigan  3) MDF   4, 5) Martha Jong-Lantink - Finland   6)  Seabamirum
1, 2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male




Genus Serinus Closely related to genus Carduelis
Serinus is a large genus of birds which are mostly in the Afrotropical region with some outlying species in Europe and Asia. It contains several species groups including canaries, seedeaters and the African siskins. The majority of species are small to medium sized birds with green and yellow, often streaky plumage though there are a few notable exceptions.

Canary, Yellow-fronted also Green Singing Finch  Serinus mozambicus  Found: North America (escapees), Africa, Hawaii
The male Yellow-fronted Canary has green back; brown wings, tail; yellow underparts, rump; gray crown, nape; yellow front of head; black malar stripe. Female similar; has weaker head pattern and duller underparts. Juvenile grayer than female, especially on head.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Danielsk - National Aviary  4, 5) Dick - Hawaii  6, 7, 8) Dick - Kenya






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