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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. 

Purple Finch Pair

Purple Finch Pair

We like the photograph above, taken by Daniel Behm in late winter in southern Ohio, because it shows a male and a female Purple Finch together. The female (right) lacks the male's rose-red color and is streaked with brown overall. More significant, her face is boldly marked with a whitish eyebrow and a dark cheek patch. Notice, too, the birds' tails: Both are distinctly notched.


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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