The Purple Finch

Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

Purple Finch is among the small forest bird at only 6" long with a stocky build making it look a big bigger than birds like chickadees, sparrows, and such.  They have thicker, conical beaks and short tails with a clearly notched tip. Males are a pink-red on the head and breast, mixed with brown on the back and a dull white on the belly. Female Purple Finches have no red and are streaked on their underside.The females facial markings include a white eye stripe and dark line down the side of the throat.

What Do They Eat?

These finches forage in trees and bushes, ocassionally on ground vegetation. Their diet is primarily seeds, berries and insects. They are fond of sunflower seeds, millet, and thistle. At bird feeders, purple finches will eat seeds and mealworms. Young finches are fed almost exclusively seeds.

Nesting & Mating

Female

These birds are monogamous birds. Purple finches breed once each year between the months of April and August. The male Purple Finch will courts the female with a flapping dance. Once a mate is chosen a cup shaped nest is constucted by the female usually among the branches of a conifer tree. Nest building can take 3 - 8 days to complete with little help from the male. The female will then lay between 4 and 6 green/blue eggs with brown/black speckles. The female bird will incubate the newly laid brood for 13-14 days. Both parents will feed hatchlings for an another 13-16 days after which they will be able to fly.

Interesting Facts

  1. Juveniles can breed during the following breeding season when they are less than 1 year old.
  2. Purple finches were introduced in the eastern U.S. before the house finches were introduced in 1940.
  3. Males take two years to reach mature plumage, and first-year males look like females.
  4. It is the state bird of New Hampshire.

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