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Types Of Finches In Texas: 8 Finches In Texas To Look Out For

Finches are colorful medium-sized songbirds that love attention. These excellent singers prefer habitats that are temperate and are known to be nonmigratory birds. Due to their nature, they prefer to stay in areas that are dry like wooded grasslands or locations bordering watercourses.

Taking note of these preferences it is no wonder finches in Texas are quite abundant. For avid bird watchers and nature lovers, there are 8 prominent species of finches in Texas that grab a lot of attention.

The list of species includes the House Finch, Purple Finch, Cassin’s Finch, Common Redpoll, Red Crossbill, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, and Lesser Goldfinch. Each has unique characteristics that make them special and intriguing. Let’s go over each specimen to get to know them better.

8 Species of Finches in Texas

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

House Finch
House Finch

This breed’s appearance is different for males and females. Males are adorned with cherry-red feathers. The females are decorated with grey and brown plumage that is in a streaky pattern. Their distinct appearance makes them easily recognizable. They are regularly found in the western areas of Texas.

Expert Tip: An interesting fact with these birds is the male color intensity can vary based on the season. This phenomenon is associated with their diet that mainly consists of fruits and berries.

Females have no records of color shifting These singers like to chirp and warble cheery in a rapid phase. They exude a lot of vibrant energy.

It is very pleasant to have them close by and fill your space with song. House Finches when eating prefer to perch which makes them regulars on installed bird feeders. They are also not picky and have no issues consuming food that is laying on the ground. Their diet mainly consists of grains, berries, seeds, and small insects.

When visiting bird feeders, they have a strong appetite for nyjer and sunflower seeds. In the wild, nettle and dandelion seeds are their favorites. They are very sociable and prefer to stay in large flocks all year round.

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)

Purple Finch
Purple Finch

This species has a similar body build to a sparrow. The appearance of the two genders in these species is different. Males tend to be more colorful as they have plumages of attractive raspberry color. The females on the other hand have brown streaky feathers with white bellies.

Some may question why are they called Purple Finch but they are not colored purple? It is due to the scientific name associated with them. The Latin word purpureus is translated to “color of purple”. The males can also be mistaken for House Finches but observing closely the Purple Finch is more of rosy or dark pink in shade.

These species are abundant in the northeast part of the state of Texas. They are very protective and territorial of their food and nest. Females take the lead in confrontations but instead of physical fighting, it is more of displaying aggression.

This is one way they defend their space but in instances, combat is needed, the Purple Finch would willingly engage. The females also take more responsibility in building the nest. They often breed and live in forests. As for forage they often conduct it above high trees. Their diet consists of plant seeds and stalks of weeds.

They also appreciate sunflower seeds that are being placed in bird feeders. Due to their affinity for high places, these species are hard to see. But they do make loud sounds that give the assurance that they are indeed around.

Cassin’s Finch (Haemorhous cassinii)

Cassin's Finch
Cassin’s Finch

Here is another breed of finches that the male and female do not look alike. The males in this species are distinguished by the light red color that adorns their heads. Their wings however are covered in brown plumage. As for the females of this group they have brown and white streaky feathers that cover their whole bodies.

This species is named after John Cassin an American ornithologist from Pennsylvania. The Cassin’s Finch is a resident of Texas almost all year round but only on a small scale. To be specifically listed sightings are listed somewhere in limited areas in the west of the state of Texas.

They migrate when it is time to breed which is often scheduled in the months of either April or May.

Expert Tip: In preparation for the mating season, the female would be the one to choose a suitable location for a nest. The female would also carry on building it while the male will stand guard to protect the territory.

Despite their territorial behavior during mating season, on ordinary days they are very sociable. They would join other finches and cooperate in tasks like finding food. These birds like to reside in coniferous forests.

Their diet usually contains buds, berries, fruits, seeds, and small insects. The fruiting shrubs that they often visit are apple, grape, cotoneaster, firethorn, and mulberries.

Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea)

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

These types of finches are covered with brown and white plumage for both genders. However, there is still a distinction between males and females. Though they both have a tiny forehead patch that is colored red the males have a pale shade of red on their chests. It appears like a vest as it covers their upper flanks.

Both sexes have a black feathering encircling their yellow bill and both have two wing bars that are colored white. Many describe the Common Redpoll as frosty red in appearance. Seeing them firsthand, the description gives justice.

When the breeding season is about to begin females will start to busy themselves in finding a nest and building on it. They would use items like twigs and grass to build their territory. Sometimes they would recycle materials used from former nests. The Common Redpoll has a courting ritual.

This involves the male flying above the nest in a circular pattern. He does this slowly and with caution while calling out to the female. Though the Common Redpoll is not abundant in Texas, they still have a presence in the area, especially during the winter season.

They often take refuge in the northern areas of the state. That is why during these times, they can be seen visiting the installed bird feeders. Their favorite menu in the feeders is nyjer seeds.

Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

Red Crossbill
Red Crossbill

This breed of sociable bird has distinct features that differentiate both genders. Fully grown males have brick-red plumage all over their bodies. Adult females have different color tones on their bodies. Their upper bodies have shades of brown to olive-brown hue.

As for the lower body, they have a yellowish color. During their youth, the Red Crossbill’s feathers are brownish at the upper body and a lighter shade of brown on the lower body. As social birds even during the breeding season the Red Crossbill prefer to stay in large flocks.

Compared to other finches that are territorial, they don’t mind nesting close to each other. Many breeding pairs can be observed close together without any conflict during this period. The peace is probably contributed by the monogamous trait of the Red Crossbill during mating season.

It is yet to be proven however if they return to the same nest the following year. But it sure that during the recent period they are loyal to their partners. They even have the habit of flying in unison from tree to tree when foraging. This breed is sighted in Texas specifically spanning the range of northern to western areas of the state.

Expert Tip: They are quite rare in visiting bird feeders. But if you want to attract them to visit, they have a strong liking for pine and sunflower seeds.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

This is a specimen of finch that has no issues with cohabiting with others. Adult males are described to possess vibrant yellow feathers with hints of glossy black and bits of white color. The females have a similar appearance but their color is lighter. To distinguish females one must observe how their bill looks.

It is distinguished as conical in shape and pointed. They also have an observable notched tail. During mating season, pairs would fly together and seek a location for a breeding ground. They have a different schedule compared to other finches. They start quite late during June or July.

Once settled the female takes the responsibility of making the nest. The materials they often use are thistle, milkweed, and other plants that have fibrous seeds. They do this structure to incorporate their nest to feed their fledglings also.

In terms of nutrition, this breed is one of the strictest vegetarians not only in their species but in the whole bird kingdom. Though they can accidentally swallow and ingest small insects, they would rather follow an exclusive vegetable diet. These vibrant birds are found in Texas all year round.

When they visit bird feeders they have a strong liking for black sunflower and nyjer seeds.

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)

Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin

The adult specimens of this breed look alike. Both males and females have brown plumage on their upper bodies. While their lower bodies have a lighter shade and are heavily decorated with streaks. Both have conical bills that are slender and a bit more elongated.

The Pine Siskin has white streaks on its wings together with yellow patches. Their tails also have hints of yellow patches. So how can males and females be distinguished? Females are recorded to have lighter-colored tails which are kind of hard to distinguish with inexperienced eyes.

Expert Tip: They behave differently based on situations. During mating season the males would get the female’s attention by vocalizing courting songs.

They often stay in colonies during this period. These species cohabit just fine with others but during winters will tend to be a bit aggressive.

This shift in behavior is often related to survival instinct since during cold months food will be scarce. These birds are abundant all over the state of Texas. Their population is the highest when the mating season is over.

They often visit gardens in cold months, that is why it would be helpful to restock your bird feeders during these periods. They have a strong liking for pine seeds.

Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)

Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

This species is adorned with attractive hues of yellow, black, and green. In species, the males and females look similar but with detailed observation, they can be set apart. The adult males from the eastern part of the United States have black backs.

While their counterparts on the West Coast have shades of green on their backs and have a black cap. They are sociable and like to stay in large flocks. Their preferred habitat is scrubby areas with tall trees. They often choose oaks, cottonwood, or willow trees.

They also visit suburban yards that can offer them seeds and water through feeder stations. Lesser Goldfinches are very common in Texas. During the breeding season, they stay at the center of the state. Outside this period they are more seen in the southern part.

In terms of courting the males would choose a spot first and establish it. Once set it would perform a courting song to attract females. When they capture the attention of a female the two would continue their ritual by chasing each other while flying. As their relationship is established, the female will build the nest while the male stands guard.

As for their diet, they eat a variety of seeds like sunflower, elderberry, coffeeberry, and madrone fruits. They also like Napa thistle which is their primary food source. They also consume small insects like plant lice.


Texas has a suitable environment to meet the needs of different types of finches. Thanks to the temperate weather the state have become an attractive residence to these songbirds. The presence of these species is expected to be all year round with abundant populations.

These 8 species of finches in Texas often visit bird feeders installed in gardens. In return, it graces homes with its lovely songs.

Want to know more about these species of finches in Texas? Comment down below your questions. We would love to hear from you.

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