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Cassin's Finch

Haemorhous cassinii

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 9.75 inches Seasonality: All Seasons
ID Keys: Very similar to Purple Finch, but is slightly larger with a bigger bill, and dark streaks on the undertail coverts.  The red cap on the male is also generally more sharply defined.

Cassin's Finch - Haemorhous cassiniiThe Cassin's Finch is very similar to the more familiar Purple Finch, but is slightly larger with a larger bill and subtle plumage variations.  While Purple Finches can more often be found in lowlands and in suburban settings, the Cassin's Finch is normally a bird of mountainous conifer forests.  They may occasionally stage irruptive migrations to lowlands, and rarely may move out onto the Great Plains in small numbers.

Habitat: They primarily breed in mountainous conifer forests of western North America, sometimes being found all the way up to the tree line.  They are also most often found in conifer forests during the winter, although many times at lower elevations.

Diet: Primarily feeds on seeds, tree buds, berries, and other small fruits.  They are very fond of the seeds of conifer trees.  When available, they will also take insects.

Behavior: Will feed in trees, shrubs, and on the ground, often in small flocks.

Nesting: June and July

Song: Song Info Here

Migration: They are not strictly migratory, but are somewhat nomadic.  Birds do irregularly move into lower elevation areas during the winter, and those at the northern end of the range may move southward a short distance for the winter.

Interactive eBird Map: Click for access to an interactive eBird map of Cassin's Finch sightings

Similar Species: House Finch, Purple Finch

Bird Feeders: Will attend feeders for various seeds.

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Cassin's Finch

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Cassin's Finch"

3) Cassin's Finch

Photo Information: Photo courtesy of George Jameson.


Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Cassin's Finch - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon permanent resident in the Black Hills.

Additional Cassin's Finch Photos (coming soon!)