top of page

American Goldfinch

Scientific Name:

Spinus tristis




Open fields with shrubs for nesting


Throughout the United States, Southern Canada, and Eastern Mexico


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


As his name might imply, the male American Goldfinch is a bright yellow bird! He has a black forehead and his wings are black and white. Females are less flashy, ranging from pale yellow to brown. American goldfinches are tiny birds, measuring about 5 inches in length and weighing about 0.5 ounces. In winter, American Goldfinches will flock together in fields and meadows searching for seeds. They are also commonly seen at bird feeders. The diet of Goldfinches is distinct from many other song birds in that they eat predominantly seeds. You will commonly find goldfinches balanced on thistles, enjoying dandelions, and other seedy weeds.

Fast Facts:

  • Unlike many songbirds, American Goldfinches molt twice a year, going from bright yellow to pale yellow and brown. Molting is common in early summer and at the end of winter when they lose their plumage and regrow new feathers.

  • While both parents are involved in selecting a nesting site in a shrub, only female Goldfinches build nests.

  • A common call of American Goldfinches sounds like po-ta-to-chip, often made while flying.

  • Locally, American Goldfinches have been seen along the Center Channel through Double Diamond Park and at backyard bird feeders nearby.



Regina Hockett (research & content)

Rachel Carroll (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:23 AM

bottom of page