American Goldfinch – State bird facts

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

States: New Jersey, Iowa


Key Facts

Life Span3 to 6 Years
FlightFlying Bird

Conservation Status

Lease concern
Conservation StatusLeast Concern





Weight11–20 g
Wing Span19–22 cm
Length11–13 cm

Taxonomic Serial Number                          179236

Compared to the Average State Bird

How the American Goldfinch measures up:

  • Wing span14cm and 39% smaller than the average state bird’s wingspan (36cm).
  • Weight65g and 77% lighter than the average state bird’s weight (85g)
  • Length14cm and 52% shorter than the average state bird’s length (27cm)

Scientific Classification

AnimaliaChordataAvesPasseriformesFringillidaeCarduelis tristis


Appearance Description

Male AppearanceSpring and summer: bright yellow with a black forehead. In winter: dull brown with faint wingbars.
Female AppearanceSpring and summer: olive with a pale yellow bottom. In winter: dull brown with faint wingbars.



DietThe American Goldfinch is a diurnal feeder, meaning it eats both night and day. Their diet consists almost exclusively of seeds from a wide variety of plants including sunflowers, alders, thistles, teasels, dandelions, ragweeds, mulleins, cosmos, and goatsbeards. On occasion they have also been known to eat tree buds, maple sap, and berries.
Communication StylesDuring non-breeding season, the American Goldfinch is very talkative and social. A random series of tweets and warbles, with a lack of pattern and repitition.
Migratory BehaviorShort-distance migrant, moving south during the summer months. Migrants can be seen in flocks which move in wave-like patterns.

Range of Habitation



Open woodlands, overgrown areas, floodplains and weedy fields. Also can be found in backyards and at feeders (especially in the winter).


snakes, weasels, squirrels, blue jays

Mating and Breeding

Breeding Overview

Breeding BehaviorMonogamous, but pairs with a new mate each year.
Breeding SeasonSummer
NestingNests are built entirely by females, usually high up in deciduous trees. Males may help with the gathering of material. Nests are built of bark, weeds, and grasses.


American Goldfinch eggs
ColorDull white, sometimes with red or brown spots around the large end.
Clutch Size2 to 7 egg(s)

Chick description

Helpless with small amounts of gray down.


Birding Facts

Interesting FactThe American Goldfinch is one of the most strict vegetarians in the avian world. It is also the only Finch that molts twice in a single year.
Best Season to ObserveSpringSummer
Observation TipsAmerican Goldfinches are bountiful near thistle plants and will frequently visit feeders.
Other NamesWillow Goldenfinch, Eastern Goldenfinch


It was great, it help me with my state report and let me know how the bird sounds!!


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