David Sibley’s regular column “ID Toolkit” is a popular part of every issue of BirdWatching. In our November-December 2016 issue, he offered tips for identifying Purple Finch and House Finch. For further help distinguishing these birds, please flip through this slideshow.
The finch above is a male Purple Finch. Photographer Teri Franzen spotted it in an oak tree in early March 2013. As you can see, it isn’t purple; it’s rose-red. And the color is extensive, washing from the head onto the back and the throat and breast, and blending seamlessly onto the flanks.