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Identifying Winter American Goldfinches
American Goldfinch - Winter Plumage

American Goldfinch - Winter Plumage


American goldfinches are most confusing in winter when they are totally without their bright breeding colors. Both males and females look similar in winter, with these field marks…

  1. Head: The head is a warm tan color that may show a yellow or gray wash, though the extent of the color varies widely.

  2. Bill: The bill remains sharply pointed in winter but turns a dull dark gray or black.

  3. Throat: Winter American goldfinches have varying amounts of yellow on their throat, though the color is usually dull and can be hard to see. A brighter finch may have more yellow extending onto the upper breast or to the cheeks.

  4. Wings: In winter, the black wings contrast less with the dull body but still show one wide white wing bar, no matter which gender the bird may be.

  5. Plumage: The overall coloration of winter American goldfinches is a dull tan with a warm brown or yellow wash. The underparts are slightly paler than the upperparts.

  6. Legs and Feet: Even in winter, the legs and feet of these goldfinches remain pale.

Photo – American Goldfinch in Winter © Putneypics

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