Welcome to my Bird Blog!

Welcome to all my fellow bird lovers and gardeners! I'm so glad you stopped by.

Migratory bird populations have taken a nose dive in the past 40 years. But you can help bring their numbers back by creating beneficial, beautiful and fun habitats in your own backyard. Discover favorite plants and environments that shelter and feed colorful songbirds, as well as how to make them feel welcome by offering their preferred natural foods.

Grandma Pearl
(Connie Smith)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's the Difference Between a Purple Finch and a House Finch?

Male Purple Finch and Male House Finch Share the Same Tree
by Grandma Pearl
Just 2 days ago I was fortunate enough to notice both a male purple finch and a fledgling male house finch sharing the same tree branches.  If you look closely, you can see some of the differences in coloration and where it occurs on each bird.

Male purple finches (he's on the upper left side of the above picture) have a bright raspberry colored head, chest and rump.  When the sun's rays strike that rose hue just right, you're hit with the most beautifully intense rose red that is amazingly vibrant. 

House finches sport a brown patch behind their eye, and they have a brown upper back and wings.  Brown streaks mark the house finch's chest, while the male purple finch has no brown streaks on its chest.  Male house finches show a more reddish-orange coloration, which can vary through the orange shades and into the yellow spectrum, depending upon how many carotenoids they have ingested from their food. 

Their neck and upper chest, rump and stripe above the eye, and forehead are all orange.
Note, too, the difference in the tails.  Purple finches have a more deeply notched tail; house finches have a more square-shaped tail with just a slight notch.

The lovely warbling songs of the purple finches always brighten my day, especially when springtime is at hand.  House finches, on the other hand, have a less harmonious song, I think, than the purple finches.  It is, however, joyful and as bright as their warm orange color.  Both of these finches are very close in size, with the house finch being just a tad smaller at about 5-3/4 inches.

In both the purple finch and the house finch, females are heavily streaked.  House finch females are a lighter shade of brown with a brown head.  Purple finch females have a white streak behind their eye and a brown patch on their cheek.

The little house finch fledgling in my picture is just learning how to fly by making short hops from bush to tree branch.  One of the first places I saw him land, albeit a little awkwardly, was the tube seed feeder.  There he perched and dined for quite some time.  Occasionally he traded one perch for another, but seemed to be comfortable on that feeder.
Grandma Pearl

Fledgling Male House Finch Enjoys Sunflower Seeds
by Grandma Pearl

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