HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The House Finch is a small passerine. The male has a reddish head, throat and breast. The back, wings and underside are streaked brown. Females have no red and are streaked brown. Bird measures around 12 cm (5 inches) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Finch’ would have an onomatopoeic origin from old English. The Latin genus name is from Greek and means ‘blood’ and ‘rump’, in reference to the bird’s color. The species name ‘mexicanus’ indicates the origin of this bird, mainly Mexico.
HABITAT:   In its native habitat the house finch lives in desert grasslands and the savannah.
DIET: As its conical bill indicates, this bird is mainly a seed eater. It is attracted to bird feeders.
NESTING: Exceptionally for a bird, this finch will only feed a vegetarian diet to their young.
DISTRIBUTION: The house finch is a year-round resident in Mexico and the western USA. It was introduced to Hawaii in the 1800s, and is now widespread in that state. It was introduced in the New York area in the 1940s. Since then they have established themselves in the whole eastern half of the USA, as well as southern and eastern Canada.
ON PEI: Although the house finch breeds on Prince Edward Island, only occasional sightings have been reported so far. The Maritimes are located at the northeast end of its current breeding range, and the species is only found in and near inhabited areas.
CONSERVATION: House finches are listed as of ‘least concern’, as their numbers range in the hundreds of millions.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The house finch can be confused with the slightly larger Purple Finch. One distinction is the type of red – the latter looks like it was ‘dipped in raspberry juice’, whereas the red color of the former is more in the red-orange spectrum. Here’s an article that should help too.
REFERENCES: (Missouri Department of Conservation)

House finch pair, Natick, MA - Mar. 2015, photo by Konstantin Solomatov
House finch pair, Konstantin Solomatov
House finch male, Madison, WI - by John Benson, Mar. 2012
House finch male, WI, by John Benson
House finches foraging on grass, Diamond Head, Oahu - © Denise Motard
House finches, Diamond Head, Oahu