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 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.