The House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) is native to the western United States and adjacent Canada south to southern Mexico in the highlands. It was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands around 1859 and is now common on all the main Hawaiian islands from Kauai eastward. It was introduced to Long Island (New York) in the 1940s or early 1950s and has since spread so widely that it is now present year-round throughout the United States and adjacent Canada. The habitat includes arid scrub and brush, thornbush, oak-juniper, pine-oak association, chaparral, open woodland, urban areas, cultivated lands, and savanna. House Finches tend to avoid unbroken forests and grasslands and are common visitors to backyard feeders.
The House Finch diet consists mainly of seeds, buds, and berries, with few insects. The young are fed on regurgitated seeds. Except when nesting, House Finches tend to forage in flocks.
In the breeding season, males perform flight-song displays, singing while fluttering upward with slow wingbeats and then gliding down. The male feeds the female during courtship and incubation. Males may sing at any time of year and both sexes sing in the spring. House Finches will nest In a wide range of situations,but typically around four to five meters above the ground. The nest is an open cup built mainly by the female. Clutch size is 4 to 5 eggs (sometimes 2, 3, or 6). The pale blue eggs, with black and lavender dots concentrated at the larger end, are incubated by the female for 13 to 14 days. Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest around 12 to 15 days after hatching. Up to three (or even more) broods may be produced each year.
There are some migratory movements in fall and spring (mainly to winter at lower elevations in the West and lower latitudes in the East). The introduced House Finch may be competing with the Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus), to the detriment of the latter, in the northeastern United States.
(Kaufman 1996; AOU 1998; Dunn and Alderfer 2011)
- American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
- Dunn, J.L. and J. Alderfer. 2011. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.
- Kaufman, K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
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