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American Goldfinch

Scientific name: Spinus tristis

This small bright yellow bird will often be happy to come to your bird feeder, especially if you have nyjer or sunflower seeds!

Note the black wing and the white wing bars. The conical bill makes it easy for the goldfinch to eat seeds. As is true with many birds, the female is less bright than the male. In this photo is an example of a female in her breeding plumage, which is a yellow/olive color. In the video below, you can easily see the distinction between the sexes.

Photo Credits on this page Missouri DEC

©video credit


one half ounce


5 inches

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Berries and seeds, such as thistle and sunflower


Open woodlands, roadsides meadows

Life Cycle

The goldfinch nests later than many other birds, around July and August, as it uses the materials from milkweeds and thistle in its nests. They have been known to live up to ten years.

They are usually monogamous and raise one brood each summer.


These cheerful birds stay here year round.

Fun Facts

The male goldfinch gets to be a very bright yellow when it is time to breed. Both males and females become a duller color in the winter.

To Hear More

If you would like to hear more calls and learn more about this bird, click here.

To Learn More

If you would like to hear more calls and learn more about the goldfinch, click here.

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