American Goldfinch

(Carduelis tristis)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

American Goldfinch


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Common to abundant


Weedy fields, woodland edges, meadows.


4½ to 5in length

9 wingspan
















April 13, 2014 – First appearance of the season. Two male goldfinches at nyjer thistle feeder. Both in partialy moulted plumage.

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May 10, 2012 – First summer goldfinches arrive at backyard feeder. The winter goldfinches have been gone for at least a month.

January 5, 2012 – Eight American Goldfinches at the birdfeeder, flocking with House Finches an House Sparrows. It has to be too late to migrate. These must be wintering here. They appear at least twice a day, once mid-morning, again mid-afternoon.

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December 12, 2011 – Goldfinches are at the backyard feeder after a two-week absence. These must be migrating goldfinches from the north on their way to their winter residence. I brought the thistle seed feeder out of storage for them.

April 1, 2011 – First sighting in spring (back yard feeder)



Passeriformes (perching birds)



Fringillidae (finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers)











Visitor Photos

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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    




  Male American Goldfinch    


  Female American Goldfinch   Female American Goldfinch
  Female American Goldfinch    






  American Goldfinch
Allen Chartier
  American Goldfinch  
  American Goldfinch
JMC Nature Photos
  American Goldfinch  

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
  American Goldfinch  
  American Goldfinch
Joshua Mayer
  American Goldfinch  

Carduelis tristis





Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  American Goldfinch (Carduelis Tristis)

Published on Aug 7, 2013

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

  American Goldfinch in HD

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.

The American Goldfinch (Carduelis 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

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: Carduelis tristis) Foraging
Carl Barrentine

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

Uploaded on May 13, 2011

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





Visitor Sightings

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Lynn Rubey

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

Margot Avey

Location: Lake Harriet Trial Gardens, Minneapolis

American Goldfinch



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