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Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria


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Lesser Goldfinch, male
credit: Alan D Wilson/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Fringillidae, Finches view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has bright yellow underparts. Eastern ssp. psaltria has mostly black upperparts, but with white wing bar and wing patch, and white on tertials; mostly black tail has striking white patches on sides. Western ssp. hesperophila has black cap, olive nape and back, and black wings with similar white markings. ADULT FEMALE Has yellowish underparts and olive-green upperparts with dark wings showing two faint wing bars, small white patch (base of primaries), and white edges to tertials. Some individuals are much brighter than others. JUVENILE Similar to female; immature male soon acquires hint of adult's black cap and forehead.

Dimensions Length: 3 1/2-4" (9-10 cm)

Habitat Favors dry, open woodland; resident in much of range, but interior birds move south in fall.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range Southwest, Northwest, Texas, Plains, Rocky Mountains, California

Voice Song is a varied, rambling series of short, chirpy whistles and squeaks; call is a sharp, whistled tee-oo.

Discussion Striking southwestern specialty. Forms flocks outside breeding season and then often seen on roadside thistles. Sexes are dissimilar.