Lesser Goldfinch

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Common Name: Lesser Goldfinch

Scientific Name: Carduelis psaltria

Size: 4 - 4.5 inches (10-11cm)

Habitat: North & South America; Throughout the Western United States, Mexico and Western Central America and isolated areas of Northern South America. Found in almost any habitat with trees or shrubs with the except for dense forests. It migrates in colder areas.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 3,000,000. Although widespread, some populations (particularly in South America) are declining.

Diet: Thistle, seeds and insects.

Breeding: Male Lesser Goldfinches in the most eastern part of their range in the United States tend to have black backs and napes. Those found to the westward have green backs and only a black cap. The amount of black varies throughout the range, with many birds having partly-green backs. The amount of black shown by males can vary within a given locality too. South of central Mexico, all of the males are black-backed. Females upperparts are more or less grayish olive-green; their underparts are yellowish. They have only a narrow strip of white on the wings (with other white markings in some forms) and little or no white on the tail. Juveniles similar to adult females, except are more buffy. It lays three or four bluish white eggs in a cup nest made of fine plant materials such as lichens, rootlets, and strips of bark, placed in a bush or at low or middle levels in a tree. Nesting occurs during the summer.

Cool Facts: It comes in two forms: a dark-backed one in Texas, and a greenish-backed one farther westward.

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