South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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House Finch

Carpodacus mexicanus

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 10 inches Seasonality: All Seasons
ID Keys: Compare with Purple Finch.  Male has red throat and chest, much of head, stripes on side.  Females grayish-brown upperparts, streaked underparts.

House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus House finches are natives of the American West, but were introduced in New York City in the 1940's.  Since that time, eastern birds have spread throughout the eastern half of the country, while western populations have also expanded.  The House Finch, like the House Sparrow, is well adapted to living with humans and has taken advantage of their presence rather than suffering because of it.  Today the House Finch can be found throughout the country.  Both a male (left) and female (right) are depicted in the photos to the right.

Habitat: Primarily found in conjunction with human presence, around residential areas, parks, and farms.

Diet: Primarily vegetable matter, primarily seeds.  Will also eat fruits and berries, buds, flowers, and occasionally insects.

Behavior: Will forage on the ground, in shrubs and low vegetation, or higher in trees.  House Finches are gregarious, and outside of the nesting season, are often found foraging in small flocks.

Nesting: May and June

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: House Finch Song, also House Finch Call

Migration: Generally a permanent resident, although some higher-elevation populations will move downslope in winter, and some northerly populations will migrate southward.

Similar Species: Purple Finch, Cassin's Finch.  See ID keys for House Finch and Purple FinchPine Siskin is also similar to a female House Finch.

Conservation Status: Common and widespread, with no signs of any population declines.

Bird Feeders: Sunflower seeds, thistle, and millet seeds.

Birdhouses: Will nest in appropriately sized houses and boxes.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, House Finch

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - House Finch"

3) House Finch

Photo Information: April 19th, 2003 - Our house in Brandon, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution House Finch photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
House Finch - Species Range map
South Dakota Status: Common permanent resident throughout South Dakota (Natureserve data not locally accurate in South Dakota).