Birds Wiki
Birds Wiki
American Goldfinch
Adult male American Goldfinch
Adult female American Goldfinch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Spinus
Species: Spinus tristis

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis, previously Carduelis tristis) is an American songbird in the finch family. Due to its physical resemblance to the Canary, the American Goldfinch is often called "Wild Canary".


American Goldfinches are tiny, 5 in (13 cm) long, yellowish finches with tiny, thin bills adapted for extracting seeds from tight spaces. The male American goldfinch undergoes a dramatic transformation each spring, exchanging khaki-brown body plumage, similar to the female's, for brilliant yellow with black wings, tail, and forehead. Both sexes have a white rump and white or yellowish wing bars. The juvenile is similar to the adult female.


High pitched trills and twitters, along with plaintive chirps.


These birds are often seen in flocks of up to 20 and are common backyard birds throughout most of their range.


Seeds of thistles (most commonly nyjer), dandelions, and other members of the sunflower family, grass seeds, small tree seeds (birch, alder), buds, young leaves, small fruits, insects. This finch is a common seed feeder visitor.


Nesting occurs in late summer. The female builds a cup-shaped nest lined with thistle down and then lays 4-6 pale blue eggs that she incubates for 10-12 days while the male feeds her. The chicks are fed by both parents, and fledge within 11-17 days. One annual brood.

Distribution and habitat

The American Goldfinch inhabits weedy open fields and roadsides, particularly with sunflowers or thistles, woodland edges, all throughout the contiguous United States as well as in parts of northern Mexico and southern Canada.