|Conservation status||Probably decreased in Northeast in late 19th century after introduction of House Sparrow. In recent decades has declined further in that area, possibly owing to competition with House Finch.|
|Habitat||Woods, groves, suburbs. Breeds mostly in coniferous and mixed woods, both in forest interior and along edges. In Pacific states, also breeds in oak woodland and streamside trees. In migration and winter, found in a wide variety of wooded and semi-open areas, including forest, suburbs, swamps, and overgrown fields.|
Forages for seeds and insects up in trees and shrubs, also in low weeds and sometimes on the ground. When not nesting, may forage in small flocks. Comes to bird feeders.
4-5, sometimes 3-6. Pale greenish blue, marked with black and brown. Incubation is by female, about 13 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 1 brood per year, possibly 2 in Pacific Coast region.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 1 brood per year, possibly 2 in Pacific Coast region.
Seeds, buds, berries, insects. Feeds mainly on seeds in winter, including seeds of trees such as ash and elm, as well as weed and grass seeds. Also eats buds of many trees, and many berries and small fruits. Eats some insects such as caterpillars and beetles, mainly in summer. Young may be fed mostly on seeds.
In courtship, male hops near female with his wings drooping, tail raised, chest puffed out, then vibrates wings until he rises a short distance in the air. May hold bits of nest material in bill and give soft song during this performance. Nest: Placed on horizontal branch or fork of tree (usually conifer in East, deciduous trees often used in far West), often well out from trunk. Typically about 15-20' above ground but may be lower or up to 50' high. Nest (probably built mostly by female) is compact open cup of twigs, weeds, rootlets, strips of bark, lined with fine grass, moss, animal hair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks, mostly traveling by day. Migration is spread over a considerable period in both spring and fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsRich musical warble. Call a distinctive tick in flight.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Purple Finch
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Climate threats facing the Purple Finch
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.