American Goldfinch

(Spinus tristis)

Conservation Status
American Goldfinch
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

4½ to 5in length

9 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Weedy fields, woodland edges, meadows.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

 

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common to abundant

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Fringillidae (true finches)  
 

Genus

Haemorhous (American rosefinches)  
       
 

American Goldfinch was originally placed in the genus Spinus by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. In 1976 that genus was merged into the genus Carduelis. Based on a molecular DNA study published in 2009 and a phylogenetic study published in 2012 American Goldfinch and 18 other Carduelis species were moved to the resurrected species Spinus.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Eastern Goldfinch (Spinus tristis tristis)

Northwestern Goldfinch (Spinus tristis jewetti)

Pale Goldfinch (Spinus tristis pallidus)

Willow Goldfinch (Spinus tristis salicamans)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Carduelis tristis

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Ramona Abrego

 
    American Goldfinch      
           
 

Spring moult

 
    American Goldfinch      
 

Luciearl

 
    American Goldfinch      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    American Goldfinch   American Goldfinch  
           
    American Goldfinch      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
 

Having our shallow stream attracts many beautiful birds that want a bath. Taken through a patio glass door.

  American Goldfinch  
           
 

A lot of Goldfinches at one time on two large feeders with Sunflower seed mix—a very unusual sight mid-September 2014. The blurry orange and yellow areas are fall leaf vinyl clings that were on our patio door—trying to keep birds from hitting the glass.

  American Goldfinch  
 

Lynn Rubey

 
 

A breeding male American Goldfinch on the Big Stone National Wild Life Refuge on a purple thistle feeding on the thistle seeds.

  American Goldfinch  
 

Margot Avey

 
    American Goldfinch      
 

Tom Baker

 
    American Goldfinch   American Goldfinch  
           
    American Goldfinch      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Male

 
    Male American Goldfinch      
           
 

Female

 
    Female American Goldfinch   Female American Goldfinch  
           
    Female American Goldfinch      
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 
  American Goldfinch
Allen Chartier
 
  American Goldfinch  
  American Goldfinch
JMC Nature Photos
 
  American Goldfinch  
 
About

This species is a banner bird of backyards across much of the US and Southern Canada, where it is often a main stay at nijer and sunflower feeders.

Those living in the temperate zone get to enjoy them in their bright breeding colors. In the south they are only seen during winter when they are in basic-plumage.

Towards the west they become scarce, and the lesser-known Lesser Goldfinch becomes more common.

 
  American Goldfinch
jt893x
 
  American Goldfinch  
  American Goldfinch
Joshua Mayer
 
  American Goldfinch  
 
About

Spinus tristis

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this bird.

 
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Gerry Garcia

 
  American Goldfinch 01
Published on Aug 7, 2019
 
   
 
About

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Lyndale Park, Minneapolis, MN

Video by Gerry Garcia

http://www.minnesotaseasons.com/Birds/American_Goldfinch.html

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  American Goldfinch (Carduelis Tristis)
birdguyusa
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 7, 2013

American Goldfinch (Carduelis Tristis) feasting on sunflower seeds...

 
  American Goldfinch in HD
MoviesMusicNature
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 7, 2009

Here are a few clips I put together of the American Goldfinch Birds that visit my feeders. They are fun to watch and have an interesting way to feed, upside down if you have the right feeder. You can get many feeding at once and these types of feeders don't attract other birds much either. I have seen a Sparrow and Black Capped Chickadee trying to feed out of these and the Chickadee was the only one that actually hung upside down briefly to get any seed. It is rarely that you see any other type of bird other than the Goldfinch at these feeders. I buy the Pennington Thistle seed for them and they love it...

Here is some information on the Goldfinch I found online at Wikipedia, much more at the link below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_goldfinch

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch and Wild Canary, is a North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to North Carolina during the Breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.

The only finch in its subfamily which undergoes a complete molt, the American Goldfinch displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the Breeding season to attract a mate.

The American Goldfinch is a granivore and adapted for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its Breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generally monogamous, and produces one brood each year.

Human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often found in residential areas, attracted to bird feeders installed by humans, which increases its survival rate in these areas.

The American Goldfinch is also the New Jersey state bird.

 
  American Goldfinch - HD Mini-documentary
James Knott
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 1, 2010

Transcript: "The American Goldfinch is found in southern Canada, the United States and parts of Mexico. It is the state bird for Iowa, New Jersey and Washington.

These finches prefer to live in fields, meadows and flood plains and have adapted well to human development. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders -- especially those with Nyjer or sunflowers seeds.

There agile feet are great at allowing them to hang on to weeds while their cone-like beaks are designed to eat the seeds of plants like thistle, dandelion, ragweed and alder. This small bird has a wingspan of 7-9 inches.

This is a social bird that gathers in flocks. Males and females have different looks. These birds molt twice a year. In the spring, Breeding males turn bright yellow to attract females. They molt again in the winter where the plumage of both the males and females becomes a dull, yellow brown."

 
  American Goldfinch (Fringillidae: Spinus tristis) Foraging
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 20, 2010

A flock of American Goldfinches, all in winter plumage, feeding on ground at Turtle River State Park, North Dakota. (Photographed on 20 March 2010)

 
  American Goldfinch
birdwatcherlj
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 13, 2011

An American Goldfinch feeding on some thistle. CAMERA : NIKON D7000

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Bonnie Nelson
5/4/2021

Location: Yellow Medicine County

3 feeding at my feeders quite lovely little birds

 
  Ramona Abrego

Location: Forest Lake

American Goldfinch

 
  Luciearl
5/10/2020

Location: Cass County

American Goldfinch

 
  Alfredo Colon
9/28/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

American Goldfinch

 
  Gerry Garcia
8/4/2019

Location: Lyndale Park, Minneapolis, MN

 

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
date unknown

Location: Maple Grove, MN

Having our shallow stream attracts many beautiful birds that want a bath. Taken through a patio glass door.

American Goldfinch

 
  Lynn Rubey
10/5/2018

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

A breeding male American Goldfinch on the Big Stone National Wild Life Refuge on a purple thistle feeding on the thistle seeds.

American Goldfinch

 
  Ramona Abrego
4/6/2018

Location: Forest Lake

Spring moult

American Goldfinch

 
  Margot Avey
9/28/2017

Location: Lake Harriet Trial Gardens, Minneapolis

American Goldfinch

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
September 2014

Location: Maple Grove, MN

A lot of Goldfinches at one time on two large feeders with Sunflower seed mix—a very unusual sight mid-September 2014. The blurry orange and yellow areas are fall leaf vinyl clings that were on our patio door—trying to keep birds from hitting the glass.

American Goldfinch

 
           
 
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