Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Desert Birds >>> Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch

Carduelis psaltria

Carduelis psaltria female photo © by Michael Plagens

Bird feeders draw lesser goldfinches into the city such as Phoenix, Arizona where this female was photographed in February 2009.

Lesser Goldfinches are fairly common in well-vegetated washes and canyons in the Sonoran Desert. They seem to prefer areas with a ready supply of open water so riparian habitats are heavily used. Their lovely melodious singing often alerts the naturalist to their presence. They feed especially from developing seed heads of composites such as Annual Sunflower (Helianthus annuus). The strong but sharply pointed bill is usefull for both extracting seeds and shelling them.

Goldfinches are small, smaller than a common house sparrow. Male Lesser Goldfinches have a black cap and a brighter yellow chest. On rare occasions American Goldfinch and Lawrence's Goldfinch will stray into the Sonoran Desert.

Year-round Resident - Spring/Summer Breeder

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009