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House Finch

Haemorhous mexicanus

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 10 inches Seasonality: All Seasons
ID Keys: Compare with Purple Finch.  Male has red throat and chest, much of head, stripes on side.  Females grayish-brown upperparts, streaked underparts.

House Finch - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse finches are natives of the American West, but were introduced in New York City in the 1940's.  Since that time, eastern birds have spread throughout the eastern half of the country, while western populations have also expanded.  The House Finch, like the House Sparrow, is well adapted to living with humans and has taken advantage of their presence rather than suffering because of it.  Today the House Finch can be found throughout the country.  


Primarily found in conjunction with human presence, around residential areas, parks, and farms.


House Finches feed almost exclusively on vegetable matter, primarily seeds, but they will also feed on fruits and berries, buds, and flowers.


Will forage on the ground, in shrubs and low vegetation, or higher in trees.  House Finches are gregarious, and outside of the nesting season, are often found foraging in small flocks.


May and June. The nest of a House Finch is a small cup of grasses, weedstems, roots, leaves, and often, bits of string, hair, or whatever other fine material may be available. The nest may be placed in an incredibly wide array of locations, depending on what's available at a given locality. It's often in a tree or shrub, but could also be on a human structure, a rocky wall, or nearly any man-made or natural structure that can support it. The female lays between 2 and 6 eggs, and she alone incubates the eggs. The young hatch after about 12 to 14 days, with young fledging from the nest about 12 to 16 days from hatching.  Depending upon local conditions, nesting pairs may raise more than one brood in a given season.


The song of a House Finch is a rambling jumble of notes, with males frequently singing, and females sometimes singing shorter versions of the same song. The call of a House finch is a crisp cheep.


Generally a permanent resident, although some higher-elevation populations will move downslope in winter, and some northerly populations will migrate southward.

Interactive eBird Map:

Click here to access an interactive eBird map of House Finch sightings

Similar Species:

House Finch are similar to multiple other small finch species that are present in South Dakota at certain times of year. Here are the species most likely to be confused with a House Finch:

Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus Purple Finch - Haemorhous purpureus Cassin's Finch - Haemorhous cassinii  Pine Siskin - Carduelis pinus
Purple Finch (male) Purple Finch (female) Cassin's Finch Pine Siskin

Conservation Status:

Systematic surveys in recent decades have shown large increases in overall House Finch numbers, as well as a range expansion. They are found across an extremely broad geographic area, and they are very common in parts of that range. The IUCN considers the House Finch to be a species of "Least Concern".

Bird Feeders:

House Finches will attend feeders for a wide variety of food items, incluiding sunflower seeds, thistle, and millet seeds.


Will nest in appropriately sized houses and boxes. Here is information from NestWatch on proper nest box construction and placement to attract House Finch.

Further Information:

Photo Information:

April 19th, 2003 - Our house in Brandon, South Dakota - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos:

Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution House Finch photos.

Audio File Credits:

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
House Finch - Species Range map
South Dakota Status: Common permanent resident throughout South Dakota (Natureserve data above not locally accurate in South Dakota).

Additional House Finch Photos
 Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos

House Finch 1 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 2 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 3 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 4 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 5 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 6 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 7 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 8 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 9 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 10 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 11 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 12 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 13 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 14 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 15 - Haemorhous mexicanusHouse Finch 16 - Haemorhous mexicanus