This ID Guide to the East Texas Birds is a work in progress.  It is meant to primarily be a very basic photo ID list with little other information on the more commonly seen species. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all species ever seen in East Texas but rather the ones that are more commonly seen.  We may add a small amount of text but probably will not add a lot of additional photos for each species.  There will be only one photo at first. Later, I plan on adding a gallery for each species with numerous photos. There will be a link to the gallery by the name of the species.  (Check out the Tufted Titmouse below for an example)

Click on the photos to see a larger version.

NOTE: Unless indicated otherwise, the photos were taken by members of this site – Kristi Thomas & Michael Mathews.  We will get photos of the other species as soon as we can. It is an ongoing project. If you have pictures of any of the species which do not currently have pictures and would like contribute to this list, please contact us.  We will consider other submissions and give you photo credit.

In addition, the text is basic from Wikipedia and will be rewritten to more properly apply to our area rather than be so generic. 

NOTICE: I realize the progress is slow but we are adding at least some new information each week. 

SORRY FOR THE DELAY.

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

The common loon is a large member of the loon, or diver family of birds. Breeding adults have a plumage that includes a broad black head and neck with a greenish, purplish, or bluish sheen, blackish or blackish-grey upperparts, and pure white underparts except some black on the undertail coverts and vent. Non-breeding, which is the condition that we see in East Texas, adults are brownish with a dark neck and head marked with dark grey-brown. Their upperparts are dark brownish-grey with an unclear pattern of squares on the shoulders, and the underparts, lower face, chin, and throat are whitish. The sexes look alike, though males are significantly heavier than females. During the breeding season, loons live on lakes and other waterways in Canada; the northern United States (including Alaska); and southern parts of Greenland and Iceland. Common Loons winter on both coasts of the US as far south as Mexico, and on the Atlantic coast of Europe.

Common loons eat a variety of animal prey including fish, crustaceans, insect larvae, molluscs, and occasionally aquatic plant life. They swallow most of their prey underwater, where it is caught, but some larger items are first brought to the surface. Loons are monogamous; that is, a single female and male often together defend a territory and may breed together for a decade or more. Both members of a pair build a large nest out of dead marsh grasses and other plants formed into a mound along the vegetated shores of lakes. A single brood is raised each year from a clutch of one or two olive-brown oval eggs with dark brown spots which are incubated for about 28 days by both parents. Fed by both parents, the chicks fledge in 70 to 77 days. The chicks are capable of diving underwater when just a few days old, and they fly to their wintering areas before ice forms in the fall.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

 The American White Pelican rivals the trumpeter swan, with a similar overall length, as the longest bird native to North America. Both very large and plump, it has an overall length of about 50–70 in (130–180 cm), courtesy of the huge beak which measures 11.3–15.2 in (290–390 mm) in males and 10.3–14.2 in (260–360 mm) in females. It has a wingspan of about 95–120 in (240–300 cm). The species also has the second-largest average wingspan of any North American bird, after the California condor. This large wingspan allows the bird to easily use soaring flight for migration. Bodyweight can range between 7.7 and 30 lb (3.5 and 13.6 kg), although typically these birds average between 11 and 20 lb (5.0 and 9.1 kg). One mean body mass of 15.4 lb (7.0 kg) was reported. Among standard measurements, the wing chord measures 20–26.7 in (51–68 cm) and the tarsus measures 3.9–5.4 in (9.9–13.7 cm) long.[6] The plumage is almost entirely bright white, except the black primary and secondary remiges, which are hardly visible except in flight. From early spring until after breeding has finished in mid-late summer, the breast feathers have a yellowish hue. After molting into the eclipse plumage, the upper head often has a grey hue, as blackish feathers grow between the small wispy white crest.

The bill is huge and flat on the top, with a large throat sac below, and, in the breeding season, is vivid orange in color as are the iris, the bare skin around the eye, and the feet. In the breeding season, there is a laterally flattened “horn” on the upper bill, located about one-third the bill’s length behind the tip. The horn is shed after the birds have mated and laid their eggs. Outside the breeding season, the bare parts become duller in color, with the naked facial skin yellow and the bill, pouch, and feet an orangy-flesh color.

Double Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

 The Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. Its habitat is near rivers and lakes as well as in coastal areas and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico. Measuring 70–90 cm (28–35 in) in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized. It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water. Once threatened by the use of DDT, the numbers of this bird have increased markedly in recent years.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to coastal Spain, the Azores, and areas of far southern Europe. An all-white population found only in south Florida and the Florida Keys is known as the great white heron. Debate exists about whether it is a white color morph of the great blue heron, a subspecies of it, or an entirely separate species.

The great blue heron can adapt to almost any wetland habitat in its range. It may be found in numbers in fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines. It is quite adaptable and may be seen in heavily developed areas as long as they hold bodies of fish-bearing water.

Great blue herons rarely venture far from bodies of water, but are occasionally seen flying over upland areas. They usually nest in trees or bushes near water’s edge, often on islands (which minimizes the potential for predation) or partially isolated spots.

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

 The great egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egretlarge egret, or (in the Old Worldgreat white egret or great white heron is a large, widely distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, it builds tree nests in colonies close to water.

The great egret (Ardea alba), also known as the common egretlarge egret, or (in the Old Worldgreat white egret or great white heron is a large, widely distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, it builds tree nests in colonies close to water.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura), also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard (or just buzzard), is the most widespread of the New World vultures. One of three species in the genus Cathartes of the family Cathartidae, the turkey vulture ranges from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. It inhabits a variety of open and semi-open areas, including subtropical forests, shrublands, pastures, and deserts.

The turkey vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation. It has very few natural predators. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

The black vulture (Coragyps atratus), also known as the American black vulture, is a bird in the New World vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America. Although a common and widespread species, it has a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the turkey vulture, which breeds well into Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego. It inhabits relatively open areas which provide scattered forests or shrublands. With a wingspan of 1.5 m (4.9 ft), the black vulture is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture. It has black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak.

The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other (New World) vultures, which possess a keen sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

The Osprey or more specifically the Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.

The Osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.

As its other common names suggest, the Osprey’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialized physical characteristics and exhibits unique behavior to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae.

Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

 The red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey that breeds throughout most of North America. It is one of the most common members within the genus of Buteo in North America. The red-tailed hawk is one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the “chickenhawk”, though it rarely preys on standard-sized chickens. The red-tailed hawk occupies a wide range of habitats. 

The red-tailed hawk is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo, typically weighing from 690 to 1,600 g (1.5 to 3.5 lb) and measuring 45–65 cm (18–26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110–141 cm (3 ft 7 in–4 ft 8 in). This species displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males.

The diet of red-tailed hawks is highly variable but it is most often a predator of small mammals such as rodents.  Large numbers of birds and reptiles can occur in the diet in several areas and can even be the primary foods. Meanwhile, amphibians, fish and invertebrates can seem rare in the hawk’s regular diet; however, they are not infrequently taken by immature hawks.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocehalus)

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The Bald Eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide, and 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years.

The adult is mainly brown with a white head and tail. The sexes are identical in plumage, but females are about 25 percent larger than males. The beak is large and hooked. The plumage of the immature is brown and sometimes spotted with lighter shades.

The Bald Eagle has a body length of 70–102 cm (28–40 in). Typical wingspan is between 1.8 and 2.3 m (5 ft 11 in and 7 ft 7 in) and mass is normally between 3 and 6.3 kg (6.6 and 13.9 lb). Females are about 25% larger than males, averaging as much as 5.6 kg (12 lb), and against the males’ average weight of 4.1 kg (9.0 lb).

American Coot (Fulica americana)

The American Coot, also known as a mud hen, is a bird of the family Rallidae. Though commonly mistaken for ducks, American Coots are only distantly related to ducks, belonging to a separate order. Unlike the webbed feet of ducks, coots have broad, lobed scales on their lower legs and toes that fold back with each step in order to facilitate walking on dry land. Coots live near water, typically inhabiting wetlands and open water bodies in North America. Groups of coots are called covers or rafts. The oldest known coot lived to be 22 years old.

The American Coot is a migratory bird that occupies most of North America. It lives in the Pacific and southwestern United States and Mexico year-round and occupies more northeastern regions during the summer breeding season. Coots generally build floating nests and lay 8–12 eggs per clutch. Females and males have similar appearances, but they can be distinguished during aggressive displays by the larger ruff (head plumage) on the male. American coots eat primarily algae and other aquatic plants but also animals (both vertebrates and invertebrates) when available.

Much research has been done on the breeding habits of American Coots. Studies have found that mothers will preferentially feed offspring with the brightest plume feathers, a characteristic known as chick ornaments. American Coots are also susceptible to conspecific brood parasitism and have evolved mechanisms to identify which offspring are theirs and which are from parasitic females.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

 The Killdeer is a large plover found in the Americas. The killdeer’s common name comes from its often-heard call. Its upperparts are mostly brown with rufous fringes, the head has patches of white and black, and there are two black breast bands. The belly and the rest of the breast are white.

The non-breeding habitat of the Killdeer includes coastal wetlands, beach habitats, and coastal fields. Its breeding grounds are generally open fields with short vegetation (but locations such as rooftops are sometimes used); although it is a shorebird, it does not necessarily nest close to water. The nest itself is a scrape lined with vegetation and white material, such as pebbles or seashell fragments. This bird lays a clutch of four to six buff to beige eggs with dark markings. The breeding season occurs from mid-March to August, with later timing of egg-laying in the northern portion of the range. Both parents incubate the eggs for 22 to 28 days on average. The young stay in the nest until the day after being hatched, when they are led by their parents to a feeding territory (generally with dense vegetation where hiding spots are abundant), where the chicks feed themselves. The young then fledge about 31 days after hatching, and breeding first occurs after one year of age.

The Killdeer primarily feeds on insects, although other invertebrates and seeds are eaten. It forages almost exclusively in fields, especially those with short vegetation and with cattle and standing water. It primarily forages during the day; but, in the non-breeding season, when the moon is full or close to full, it forages at night. This is likely because of increased insect abundance and reduced predation during the night. Predators of the Killdeer include various birds and mammals. There are multiple responses to predation, ranging from calling to the “ungulate display”, which can be fatal for the performing individual. Its population is declining, but this trend is not severe enough for the killdeer to be considered a vulnerable species.

Ring-Billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

 The Ring-billed Gull is a medium-sized gull. The genus name is from Latin Larus which appears to have referred to a gull or other large seabird. The specific delawarensis refers to the Delaware River.

Species is named for the dark ring around its bill. Adults are 49 cm (19 in) length and have a 124 cm (49 in) wingspan. The head, neck, and underparts are white; the relatively short bill is yellow with a dark ring; the back and wings are silver gray; and the legs are yellow. The eyes are yellow with red rims. This gull takes three years to reach its breeding plumage; its appearance changes with each fall molt. The average lifespan of an individual that reaches adulthood is 10.9 years.

The Ring-billed Gulls’ breeding habitat is near lakes, rivers, or the coast in Canada and the northern United States. They nest colonially on the ground, often on islands. This bird tends to be faithful to its nesting site, if not its mate, from year to year.

They are migratory and most move south to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, and the Great Lakes.

Ring-billed Gulls forage in flight or pick up objects while swimming, walking or wading. They also steal food from other birds and frequently scavenge. They are omnivorous; their diet may include insects, fish, grain, eggs, earthworms, and rodents. The gull’s natural enemies are rats, foxes, dogs, cats, raccoons, coyotes, eagles, hawks, and owls.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

 Ruby-throated hummingbirds are solitary. Adults of this species are not social, other than during courtship (which lasts a few minutes); the female also cares for her offspring. Both males and females of any age are aggressive toward other hummingbirds. They may defend territories, such as a feeding territory, attacking and chasing other hummingbirds that enter.

They feed frequently while active during the day. When temperatures drop, particularly on cold nights, they may conserve energy by entering hypothermic torpor.

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)

The belted kingfisher is a stocky, medium-sized bird. The adult female averages slightly larger than the adult male.

This species has a large head with a shaggy crest. Its long, heavy bill is black with a grey base. This kingfisher shows reverse sexual dimorphism, with the female more brightly colored than the male. Both sexes have a slate blue head, large white collar, a large blue band on the breast, and white underparts. The back and wings are slate blue with black feather tips with little white dots. The female features a rufous band across the upper belly that extends down the flanks. Juveniles of this species are similar to adults, but both sexes feature the rufous band on the upper belly. Juvenile males will have a rufous band that is somewhat mottled while the band on females will be much thinner than that on adult females.

The belted kingfisher is often seen perched prominently on trees, posts, or other suitable “watchpoints” close to water before plunging in headfirst after its fish prey. They also eat amphibians, small crustaceans, insects, small mammals and reptiles.

The nest of the belted kingfisher is a long tunnel and often slopes uphill. One possible reason for the uphill slope is that, in case of flooding, the chicks will be able to survive in the air pocket formed by the elevated end of the tunnel.

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

 Adults are strikingly tri-colored, with a black back and tail and a red head and neck. Their underparts are mainly white. The wings are black with white secondary remiges. Adult males and females are identical in plumage.

These birds fly to catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts. They are omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally small rodents and even the eggs of other birds. About two-thirds of their diet is made up of plants.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

 The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker of the family Picidae. It breeds mainly in the eastern United States, ranging as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the Redheaded Woodpecker, however, is another species that is a rather close relative but looks quite different.

Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red cap going from the bill to the nape; females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification. 

Downey Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

 

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

 

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

 The Eastern Kingbirds are grey-black on the upperparts with light underparts; they have a long black tail with a white end and long, pointed wings. They have a red patch on their crown, seldom seen. 

The call is a high-pitched, buzzing and unmusical chirp, frequently compared to an electric fence.

Eastern Kingbirds wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering to pick prey off vegetation. 

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

 

Northern Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

 

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

 

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

 The Tufted Titmouse is a small songbird from North America. These small birds are approximately 6 inches in length, with a white front, and grey upper body outlined with rust-colored flanks. Other characteristics include their black forehead and the tufted grey crest on their head.

The song of the Tufted Titmouse is usually described as a whistled peter-peter-peter, though this song can vary in approximately 20 notable ways. 

The bird’s habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks, and shrublands. Though the Tufted Titmouse is non-migratory and originally native to Ohio and Mississippi, factors such as bird feeders have caused these birds to occupy a larger amount of territory across the United States and stretching into Ontario, Canada.

The Tufted Titmouse gathers food from the ground and from tree branches. It eats berries, nuts, insects, small fruit, snails, and seeds. Caterpillars constitute a major part of its diet during the summer. Titmice will stash food for later use.

Tufted Titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a man-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog. If they find snake skin sheddings, they may incorporate pieces into their nest.

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla)

 

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

 

Eastern Blue Bird (Sialia sialis)

 

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

 

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

 

Brown Thrasher (Toxostom rufum)

 

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycill cedrorum)

 

Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

 

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)

 

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

 

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

 

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

 

Dark Eyed Junco (Junco hyernalis)

 

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

 

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

Adult Common Grackles are less sexually dimorphic than larger grackle species, but the differences between the sexes can still be noticeable. The male, is larger than the female. Adults have a long, dark bill, pale yellowish eyes, and a long tail; their feathers appear black with purple, green, or blue irridescence on the head, and primarily bronze sheen in the body plumage. Adult females, beyond being smaller, are usually less iridescent; their tails in particular are shorter, and unlike the males, do not keel (display a longitudinal ridge) in flight and are brown with no purple or blue gloss. Juveniles are brown with dark brown eyes.

The Common Grackles forages on the ground, in shallow water, or in shrubs; it may steal food from other birds. It is omnivorous eating insects, minnows, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, grain, and even small birds and mice.

In the breeding season, males tip their heads back and fluff up feathers to display and keep other males away. This same behavior is used as a defensive posture to attempt to intimidate predators. Male Common Grackles are less aggressive toward one another, and more cooperative and social, than the larger boat-tailed grackle species.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

 The Brown-headed Cowbird is a small obligate brood parasitic bird native to North America.

The Brown-headed Cowbird is distinguished by a finch-like head and beak and its smaller size. The adult male is iridescent black in color with a brown head. The adult female is slightly smaller and is dull grey with a pale throat and very fine streaking on the underparts. 

The Brown-headed Cowbird lays its eggs in the nests of other small perching birds, particularly those that build cup-like nests. The Brown-headed Cowbird eggs have been documented in nests of at least 220 host species, including hummingbirds and raptors.  The young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Brown-headed Cowbird females can lay 36 eggs in a season. 

Some host species, such as the House Finch, feed their young a vegetarian diet. This is unsuitable for young Brown-headed Cowbirds, meaning almost none survive to fledge

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

The House Sparrow is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. It is a small bird. Females and young birds are colored pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. The House Sparrow is native to many regions, including parts of Australasia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.

The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

 The American Goldfinch is a small North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canada–United States border to Mexico during the winter.

The American Goldfinch displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer.

The American Goldfinch is a granivore and adapted for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating.

The American Goldfinch is a small finch, 11–14 cm (4.3–5.5 in) long, with a wingspan of 19–22 cm (7.5–8.7 in). It weighs between 11–20 g (0.39–0.71 oz).[13] Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 6.5 to 7.8 cm (2.6 to 3.1 in), the tail is 4.2 to 5.1 cm (1.7 to 2.0 in), the culmen is 0.9 to 1.1 cm (0.35 to 0.43 in) and the tarsus is 1.2 to 1.4 cm (0.47 to 0.55 in).[14] The beak is small, conical, and pink for most of the year, but turns bright orange with the spring molt in both sexes.

The American Goldfinch is a diurnal feeder. It is mainly granivorous, but will occasionally eat insects, which are also fed to its young to provide protein. Its diet consists of the seeds from a wide variety of annual plants, often those of weeds, grasses, and trees, such as thistle, teasel, dandelion, ragweed, mullein, cosmos, goatsbeard, sunflower, and alder.[22] However, it also consumes tree buds, maple sap, and berries.

 

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

 The House Finch is a moderately-sized finch. Adult birds are 12.5 to 15 cm (4.9 to 5.9 in) and span 20 to 25 cm (7.9 to 9.8 in). Body mass can vary from 16 to 27 g (0.56 to 0.95 oz), with an average weight of 21 g (0.74 oz).

Adults have a long, square-tipped brown tail and are a brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers. Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are. In most cases, adult males’ heads, necks and shoulders are reddish. This color sometimes extends to the belly and down the back, between the wings. Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons and is derived from the berries and fruits in its diet. Adult females have brown upperparts and streaked underparts.

These birds are mainly permanent residents throughout their range; some northern and eastern birds migrate south.

Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s. The birds were sold illegally in New York City as “Hollywood Finches”, a marketing artifice. They have since become naturalized; in largely unforested land across the eastern U.S., they have displaced the native purple finch and even the non-native house sparrow.

House Finches forage on the ground or in vegetation normally. They primarily eat grains, seeds and berries, being voracious consumers of weed seeds such as nettle and dandelion; included are incidental small insects such as aphids. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders throughout the year, particularly if stocked with sunflower or nyjer seed, and will congregate at hanging nyjer sock feeders.

The female lays clutches of eggs from February through August, two or more broods per year with 2 to 6 eggs per brood, most commonly 4 or 5.

House Finches are aggressive enough to drive other birds away from places such as feeders.

Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

 The Purple Finch is a bird in the finch family, Fringillidae.

Adults have a short forked brown tail and brown wings and are about 15 cm (5.9 in) in length and weigh 34 g (1.2 oz).[5] Adult males are raspberry red on the head, breast, back and rump; their back is streaked. Adult females have light brown upperparts and white underparts with dark brown streaks throughout; they have a white line on the face above the eye.

Their breeding habitat is coniferous and mixed forest in Canada and the northeastern United States, as well as various wooded areas along the U.S. Pacific coast. They nest on a horizontal branch or in a fork of a tree.

The Purple Finch population has declined sharply in the East due to the House Finch. Most of the time, when these two species collide, the house finch outcompetes the purple finch. This bird has also been displaced from some habitat by the introduced house sparrow.

These birds forage in trees and bushes, sometimes in ground vegetation. They mainly eat seeds, berries, and insects. They are fond of sunflower seeds, millet, and thistle.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 3]