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American Goldfinch wild bird

American Goldfinch


A small bird, the American Goldfinch changes the color of its plumage twice a year after going through the molting process—the only member of the finch family to go through a complete molt.


Found in most areas of North America except the American Southwest, the American Goldfinch has an amazing, daring courtship ritual as the male circles the female in midflight.

The American Goldfinch also made our list of the Top 15 Photogenic Feeder Birds.





Appearance of the American Goldfinch


The American Goldfinch (also known as the Eastern Goldfinch or the Wild Canary) is a common member of the finch family. A small bird, the American Goldfinch changes its plumage color twice a year after undergoing the molting process—the only member of the finch family to experience a complete molt.


Wild Bird Library - American Goldfinch

During the summer months, male American goldfinches are bright yellow and then olive during the winter. Female American goldfinches are dull yellow-brown year-round, though brighter during the summer.


The beak of the American Goldfinch has evolved over time, becoming conical to aid in feeding on seedheads.


The song of the American Goldfinch is a series of musical warbles and twitters.


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Geography of the American Goldfinch


American Goldfinches are found throughout southern Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland east, and across most of the United States with the exception of the American southwest.


Migrating southward for winter, American Goldfinches usually stay within the continental United States. Some goldfinches do venture as far south as northern Mexico.


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Local Environments of the American Goldfinch


Wild Bird Library - American Goldfinch - Habitat

The American Goldfinch prefers open fields, floodplains, meadows, orchards and gardens. Those that stay in the same area year-round tend to move closer to areas where birdfeeders are in abundance.


American goldfinches are considered ‘social’, gathering in flocks while feeding and or migrating.


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