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.
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.