The House Finch is a medium-sized finch, about the size of a sparrow, with a short conical bill and a square tipped tail. The males often have a bright red patch on the forehead, chin, throat, upper breast and back end and have a red line over their eyes. The red color is due to the carotenoid pigments found in many of the bird’s food sources. The rest of the male’s body is white and lightly streaked with brown. They also have brown tipped wings and tail. The females and young males are lightly streaked with brown from forehead to back side and, like the males, their wing tips and tails are also brown.
The House Finch is not a territorial bird. However, they do establish dominance hierarchies that are often matriarchal. They are commonly found in groups or flocks and forage together in trees or on the ground. The House Finch is diurnal and feeds almost exclusively on buds, seeds, fruit and grains. The male Finch’s red coloring is directly related to the amount of carotenoid pigments in their food source during their molting period. House Finches drink water by scooping it into their bill and tilting their head back.
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