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Photos to help you ID Purple Finch and House Finch

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. 

Male House Finch

Male House Finch

The bird above is a male House Finch that Harry Collins photographed in Pennsylvania. Its red color covers less of the body than it does on Purple Finch. The House Finch also has a brown cap and brown cheeks, its underparts are marked with sharp brown streaks, and its bib and underparts meet at a fairly clear line. And once again, notice the tail: It isn't as distinctly notched as the tail of Purple Finch.


Originally Published

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Chuck Hagner

Chuck Hagner

Chuck Hagner is the director of Bird City Wisconsin, a program that recognizes municipalities in the Badger State for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthy for birds and people. He was the editor of BirdWatching from 2001 to 2017, and his articles have appeared in Nature Conservancy and Birding. He is also the author of two books about birds and the board chair of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, Inc., located in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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