American Goldfinch

Fast Facts:

  • Common Name:
    American Goldfinch
  • Scientific Name:
    Carduelis tristis
  • Diet: Vegetarian
  • Size: 5 inches long, 7-9 inch wingspan
  • Weight: .5 ounce


American goldfinches are brightly colored favorites in many yards around the U.S. These finches molt twice a year—in the spring and fall. After male goldfinches molt in the spring, they’re a bright yellow (thanks to the plants in their diet) and feature a black cap and white bottom. As for female goldfinches, they’re brown/tan with a yellow chest after the spring molt.

Habitat and Migration

Often found in more open areas, American goldfinches enjoy meadows, plains, orchards, and gardens. During summer breeding time, their habitat ranges throughout North America, between the coasts and as far north as Saskatchewan. Their migratory patterns are limited to times of colder weather and limited food supply, typically flying short distances in tight flocks.

Social Behavior

Instead of showing aggressive behavior toward predators, these goldfinches instead rely on alarm calling. While typically found in flocks when outside of breeding season, during breeding time, males become aggressive toward other males (and females are aggressive toward other females) coming too close to their nests. Females have been noted as the dominant sex.

Des Moines Feed Blends

  • Nyjer & Hearts
  • Outdoor Finch

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