American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch Carduelistristis


  • Size: 4 to 5 inches (11 - 13 cm)
  • Wingspan: 7 to 9 inches (19 - 22 cm)
  • Weight: .39 to .71 ounces (11 - 20 g)

This is a small bird. The body is bright yellow to dull brown. The wings are black with white wing bars. The small, pink bill is pointed and conical shaped. The tail is short and notched.


The American Goldfinch eats seeds, insects and berries. Has a preference for thistle seeds. Can be attracted to feeders using nyjer seed(thistle seed).

Sex Differences:

During the spring and summer: the male has a bright yellow body and black cap, tail and wings (with white wing-bars . The female is yellowish-green with black tail and wings (with white wing-bars).

During the fall and winter: the male has a yellowish-brown body and black cap, tail and wings (with white wing bars). The female is grayish-brown with dark brown tail and wings(with white wing bars).


These finches build their nests in trees or shrubs 4 to 20 feet above the ground. The nest will be constructed from weeds, vines and downy filaments from wind-dispersed seeds. It will use caterpillar webbing to hold everything together.


American Goldfinch Range Map
American goldfinch map key

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know

  • Most finches molt once per year in the fall. The American Goldfinch molts a second time, in the springtime. The second molting brings out their beautiful yellow breeding color, supporting their nickname "wild canary".
  • The female will often leave the male, with babies still in the nest, to find another mate.
  • In the winter, these birds can be found in large flocks. During the breeding season, they will feed in much smaller groups.

The best bird feeder choice for an American Goldfinch is a thistle feeder. 

Below is a photo of the one I have hanging outside my office window. It is an absolute delight to watch and listen to the American Goldfinches, as I work at my computer. Clinging upside down to the feeder, the males sing, "dear, dear, dearie" to their sweethearts, all day long.

American Goldfinches

Click here for information on the Lovemaking of American Goldfinches.

Please tell us about the Goldfinches visiting your feeders.

Goldfinches are one of the most beautiful birds to visit our backyard feeders. Unfortunately not everyone gets to see them. If you are fortunate enough to see them in your yard please tell us about them.

What type of feeders do you use? What type of food did they eat? My readers would love to hear your story. It is easy to do just fill in the areas below and you can even add pictures. One you're finished you will have your very own page published with your name in the title!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

I was walking on the beach with my friends on my birthday and we got to the end and in the bushes I found a gorgeous yellow bird. I have always been amazed …

American Goldfinch Station 
I live in southeastern Ohio. A stack of flat rocks about two feet tall stands about 30 feet from my kitchen window. Every morning I pour about 1/2 cup …

Hi, A question for anyone who can help. Just moved to a new house in the same city. I used to have several feeders and was attracting many kinds of birds. …

No Finches Yet in Ohio? 
I have always used a sock feeder and it has been up for 2 weeks and no finches yet, whats up? I live in northeast Ohio. Finch Feeders

Carduelis tristis.... 
Carduelis tristis I get home from school early today and open the front door. Silence, except for Brock (My 65 lb Pit bull) coming to great me. After …

Love those Goldfinches 
I've known about Goldfinches since I was a child, but it wasn't until I moved to a rural area, where I got to truly enjoy them. We live in north central …

My golden finch Not rated yet
Every afternoon a golden finch comes an sits for a while om my cheap plastic lantern type bird feeder bought for just $3.00 at the store. I fill the lantern …

Dozens of Goldfinches Not rated yet
4/19/13 A couple weeks ago i bought a thistle sock and two very cheap hanging feeders. I was looking to feed all the little finches around my yard. The …

Goldfinches luv that nyjer seed Not rated yet
The other day I noticed a goldfinch fly by. I went to the store and purchased a nyjer seed sock and placed it on a hook off our back deck. I noticed …

we have a female and male who visit everyday Not rated yet

Feeder up since mid- April-No Golfinches-MA Not rated yet
Have Nyjer tube feeder on Shephard Hook on side of driveway abutting a dense border of tall Spruce-like evergreens. Have flower box of Marigolds and …

My Little Angels year round! Not rated yet
We started feeding birds about 6 years ago. At first,all we had were Cardinals and Sparrows. Once in awhile we got Blue Jays and then the Doves started …

Gold Finches go to school  Not rated yet
At our preschool we've enjoyed feeding Goldfinches for several winters. Under one small tree we've created a mini bird oasis . Our children make pine …

Gold Finches - A backyard treat!  Not rated yet
We enjoy numerous gold finches in our backyard each summer. And, as much as we'd like to think it's our delightful arrangement of plantings - it's not. …

American Goldfinches Not rated yet
Have you a garden filled with marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias, cornflowers, and coreopsis? If so, every goldfinch in your neighborhood knows it and loses …

Finch Season Not rated yet
Well its September in Central California and the heat is finally on its way out that sounds nice. On another note the american gold finch is in my neighbor …

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