Fun Facts About House Finches

House Finch


  • Male House Finches display a wide variety of plumage coloration ranging from gray to bright crimson. The coloration comes from carotenoid pigments found in some wild foods. The more pigment present in the foods eaten when they are molting new feathers … the redder the male.
  • Female house finches prefer to mate with the reddest males they can find.
  • A water source can be a strong attractant for House Finches.  They can drink up to 40% of their body weight on a hot summer day.
  • House Finches are almost strictly vegetarian feeders and approximately 97% of their diet is made up of vegetable matter including buds, seeds, and fruits. They are strongly attracted to feeders, where they prefer small sunflower seeds.
  • House finches differ from purple finches by the male purple finch's purple side streaks (unlike the brown streaks in a house finch) and by the female's conspicuous eye stripe (female house finches lack this feature).
  • The Eastern population of the House Finch has decreased by almost 50% in the last 10 years due to an eye disease known as avian conjunctivitis.
  • Studies have shown that when the avian conjunctivitis enters a new area, it takes three years before the population of House Finches stabilizes at about half of the pre-disease level. It is theorized that transmission of avian conjunctivitis between House Finches is dependant on high density populations.
  • Banding studies show House Finches may live to be over 11 years old in the wild.
  • House finches are early nesters, beginning in March in most of the country.
  • Both male and female House Finch display a strong tendency to return to the same area to breed, often occupying the same nest site as the previous year.
  • Ironically, House Finches rarely use bird houses to build their nest in; instead they seem to prefer locations such as: coniferous trees, cactus plants, ledges, street lamps, ivy on building and hanging planters.
  • House Finch typically produce at least two broods each nesting season. Research has shown that some individuals may attempt to nest up to six times per year, but only half of the attempts were successful in fledging young.