Finches, Cardinals

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26 records

Canaries belong to the family Fringillidae, or true finches, along with goldfinches and siskins. Many of the finches belong to famiy Estrildidae. One of the most notable differences between these two families is the shape of their nests. In general, however, they share similar physical characteristics such as the shape of their beaks and their small size.


American Goldfinch

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The American Goldfinch is also known as the Eastern Goldfinch OR Wild Canary. It is a North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.

The only finch in its subfamily which undergoes a complete molt. The male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months. While the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer.

The American Goldfinch is adapted for the consumption of seed heads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seed heads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generally monogamous, and produces one brood each year.

Human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often found in residential areas, attracted to bird feeders installed by humans, which increases its survival rate in these areas. Deforestation by humans also creates open meadow areas which are the preferred habitat of the American Goldfinch.

Black-faced Grosbeak

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The Black-faced Grosbeak is a large seed-eating bird in the cardinal family. It is a resident breeding species from southeastern Mexico to eastern Panama.

The adult Black-faced Grosbeak is 17 cm long and weighs 36 gm. It has a heavy, mainly black, bill. It has a black face, yellow head, neck and breast, and olive back, wings and tail. The rump and belly are gray. Immature birds are duller and have duskier face markings.

The Black-faced Grosbeak forages in shrubs or trees for beetles, caterpillars and other insects, and also eats fruit, seeds, and nectar taken from flowers. It is often in mixed-species feeding flocks with Honey-creepers and other Tanagers.

This species breeds in the Caribbean lowlands and foothills from sea level to about 1000m altitude, and is found in the canopy and middle levels of dense wet forests, tall second growth, and semi-open habitats such as woodland edge and clearings. The nest is a bowl constructed from leaves 3–6 m high in a small tree or palm. The female lays three brown-spotted gray-white eggs between April and June.

Blue-crowned Manakin

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The Blue-crowned Manakin males have a brilliant blue cap; some have black, others have green body plumage.

It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

Common Rosefinch

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The Common Rosefinch is the most widespread and common rosefinch of Europe, where it has spread westward from Asia in recent decades: it has even been recorded breeding in England once. Common Rosefinches breed from the Danube valley, Sweden, and Siberia to the Bering Sea; the Caucasus, northern Iran and Afghanistan, Pakistan and the western Himalaya, Tibet and China; to Japan between latitudes 25° and 68°. In winter they are found from southern Iran to south-east China, India, Burma, and Indochina.

The mature male has brilliant rosy-carmine head, breast and rump; heavy bill; dark brown wings with two indistinct bars, and a white belly. Females and young males are dull-colored with yellowish-brown above, brighter on the rump and grayer on head; buff below.

They are found in summer in thickets, woodland and forest edges near rivers and in winter in gardens and orchards, wetlands and locally in dry oak woods. The nest is placed low in a bush and the five eggs are dark blue with coarse dark brown spots.

Common Waxbill

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The Common Waxbill is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to many other regions of the world. It is popular and easy to keep in captivity.

It is a small bird, 15 centimeters long and a weight of 10 grams. It has a slender body with short rounded wings and a long graduated tail. The bright red bill of the adult is the color of sealing wax giving the bird its name. The plumage is mostly grey-brown, finely barred with dark brown. There is a red stripe through the eye and the cheeks and throat are whitish. There is often a pinkish flush to the underparts and a reddish stripe along the center of the belly depending on the subspecies. The rump is brown and the tail and vent are dark. Females are similar to the males but are paler with less red on the belly. Juveniles are duller with little or no red on the belly, fainter dark barring and a black bill.

Crimson-backed Tanager

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The Crimson-backed Tanager is found in Colombia, French Guyana, Panama, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

Dark-eyed Junco

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The Dark-eyed Junco is the best-known species of the juncos. This bird is common across much of temperate North America and in summer ranges far into the Arctic. It is a very variable species, much like the related Fox Sparrow and its systematics is still not completely untangled.

Adults generally have gray heads, necks, and breasts, gray or brown backs and wings, and a white belly, but show a confusing amount of variation in plumage details. The white outer tail feathers flash distinctively in flight and while hopping on the ground. The bill is usually pale pinkish.

Males tend to have darker, more conspicuous markings than the females. They are 20 cm in length. Juveniles often have pale streaks and may even be mistaken for Vesper Sparrows until they acquire adult plumage at 2 to 3 months. But junco fledglings' heads are generally quite uniform in color already, and initially their bills still have conspicuous yellowish edges to the gape, remains of the fleshy wattles that guide the parents when they feed the nestlings.

The song is a trill similar to the Chipping Sparrow's except that the Red-backed Junco's song is more complex, similar to that of the Yellow-eyed Junco. Calls include tick sounds and very high-pitched tinkling chips.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia

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The Golden-browed Chlorophonia is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montanes.

Tare small-sized birds. They are 12cm clong and weighs about 10 gm. Both male and female are same size and weight. They are brightly colored. Birds in their first year are often duller or a different color altogether. Males are typically more brightly coloured than females.

They have short, rounded wings. The shape of the bill seems to be linked to the species' foraging habits.

Golden-headed Manakin

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The Golden-headed Manakin is a small passerine bird which breeds in tropical South America. It is found from Panama, Colombia and Trinidad south and east to the Guiana and Brazil and Northern Peru.

Like other Manakins, the Golden-headed Manakin is a compact, brightly colored forest bird, typically 10 cm long and weighing 13 gm. The adult male is black apart from a golden cap, white and red thighs, pink legs and a yellowish bill. The female and young males are olive-green and resemble female White-bearded Manakins, but are smaller, shorter-tailed and have pinkish legs.

This Manakin is a common bird of forests, second growth and plantations. Like other Manakins they eat fruit and some insects.

Male Golden-headed Manakins give a fascinating courtship display. Each male occupies a horizontal perch 20–40 ft high and rapidly jumps, slides, or darts to other perches. Groups of up to 12 birds may perform together. The female builds a shallow cup nest low in a tree; two brown-mottled yellowish eggs are laid, and incubated entirely by the female for about 16–17 days.

Gouldian Finch

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The Gouldian Finch is a colorful passerine bird endemic to Australia. There is strong evidence of a continuing decline, even at the best-known site near Katherine in the Northern Territory. Large numbers are bred in captivity, particularly in Australia.

Both sexes are brightly colored with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly colored. One major difference between the sexes is that the male's chest is purple, while the female's is a lighter mauve.

Gouldian Finches are about 150 mm long. Gouldian Finches' heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are color variants that exist in the wild. Selective breeding has also developed mutations [blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back] in both body and breast color.

Juveniles also have distinctive colors. Their heads, sides and necks are grey, and their backs, wings and tail feathers are olive green. Their undersides are pale brown. Beaks are blackish with a reddish tip. Their legs and feet are light brown. Newly-hatched Gouldian Finches are pink and naked until about 12 days old when the beginnings of feathers start to appear. Very young birds also have blue, phosphorescent beads on the sides of their beaks to help their parents see them in the dark.

Green Avadavat

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House Finch

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The House Finch is a bird in the finch family. 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 stomach 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. As a result, the colors range from pale straw-yellow through bright orange to deep, intense red. Adult females have brown upperparts and streaked underparts.

These birds are mainly permanent residents; some eastern birds migrate south. Their breeding habitat is urban and suburban areas in the East as well as various semi-open areas in the West from southern Canada to northern Florida and the Mexican state of Oaxaca; the population in central Chiapas may be descended from escaped cagebirds.

Indian Silverbill

Total Photos: 5

The Indian Silverbill is a small passerine bird found in South Asia that was formerly considered to include the closely related African Silverbill. This finch is a common resident breeding bird in the dry regions of the Middle East and South Asia. It has also been introduced into many other parts of the world and has become established in some areas. They forage in small flocks in grassland and scrub habitats.

Lance-tailed Manakin

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The Lance-tailed Manakin is a small perching bird which breeds in tropical Central and South America from Costa Rica to northern Venezuela.

This manakin is a fairly common bird of dry and moist deciduous forests, but not rainforest. The female builds a cup nest in a tree; two brown-mottled cream eggs are laid, and incubated entirely by the female for about 20 days.

Like other manakins, the Lance-tailed Manakin is a compact, brightly coloured forest bird, typically 14 cm long and weighing 18 gm. Both male and female have the two central tail feathers elongated to form a spike. The male is mainly black, with a red crown patch, bright sky-blue back, and bright orange legs.

The female has olive-green upperparts, and somewhat paler olive underparts. Young males are olive, but show a red cap and the start of a blue back as they mature.

This species is similar to Blue-backed Manakin, which breeds further south and east, but the latter lacks the spiky tail, and the male has a somewhat darker blue back.

The male Lance-tailed Manakin has an interesting breeding display, unusual in that it is cooperative rather than competitive. Two males perch next to each other on a bare stick and jump up and down alternately, sometimes giving short flights. Groups of birds may perform together, with a different stick for each pair of displaying males. These manakins eat fruit and some insects.

Northern Cardinal

Total Photos: 5

The Northern Cardinal is a North American bird. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It can also be found on the Big Island of Hawaii and on Oahu. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrub-lands, and swamps.

The Northern Cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 21 cm. It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade.

The Northern Cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as cage birds is now banned in the United States.

Paradise Tanager

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The Paradise Tanager is a brilliantly multicolored, medium-sized songbird whose length varies between 13.5 and 15 cm. It has a light green head, sky blue underparts and black upper body plumage. Depending on subspecies, the rump is yellow and red or all red. The beak is black and the legs are grey.

Found in humid tropical and subtropical forests in the western and northern Amazon Basin in South America, it occurring in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and the Guianas.


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The Pyrrhuloxia is a medium-sized North American perching bird found in the American southwest and northern Mexico. This distinctive species with a short, stout bill, red crest and wings, closely resembles the Northern Cardinal and the Vermilion Cardinal, both belongs to same family. It is 25 cm long and weighs 45 gms.

The most obvious differences between the male Desert Cardinal and the Northern Cardinal are the former's largely coloring. The Desert Cardinal is predominantly brownish-gray with a red breast, a red mask, and a yellow parrot-like bill that is stout and rounded. The females of the two species resemble each other much more closely, but the shapes of their bills are diagnostic. This cardinal retains the distinctive long pointed red crest present in all species.

Red Avadavat

Total Photos: 7

The Red Avadavat is a sparrow-sized bird of the Munia family. It is found in the open fields and grasslands of tropical Asia and is popular as a cage bird due to the colourful plumage of the males in their breeding season. It breeds in South Asia during the Monsoon season.

This small finch is easily identified by the rounded black tail and the bill that is red in all seasons. The rump is red and the breeding male is red on most of the upper parts except for a black eye-stripe, lower belly and wings. There are white spots on the red body and wing feathers. The non-breeding male is duller but has the red-rump while the female is duller with less of the white spotting on the feathers.

Red-capped Manakin

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The Red-capped Manakin is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Panama. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

The bird is probably best known for the male's unusual courting method whereby it shuffles rapidly backwards across a branch.

The Red-capped Manakin is a small perching bird, measuring 10 cm in length and weighing 16 gm. The male is velvety black apart from a bright red head and nape, bright yellow thighs, and a pale yellow chin and wing linings. The female is olive green above, with paler, more yellow-green underparts. Both Male and Femal have dull brown legs. The male's irides are white, while those of the female and young are brown.

Saffron Finch

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The Saffron Finch is a tanager from South America and is common in both open and semi-open areas in lowlands outside the Amazon Basin. They have a wide distribution in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Argentina.

The male is bright yellow with an orange crown which distinguishes it from other yellow finches in the continent. The females are more confusing as they can sometimes be just a duller version of the male.

Typically nesting in cavities, the Saffron Finch makes use of sites such as bamboo branches and under house roofs - this species is tolerant of human proximity, appearing at suburban areas and frequenting bird tables. They have a pleasant but repetitious song which, combined with their appearance, has led to them being kept as caged birds in many areas.

Scaly-breasted Munia

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The Scaly-breasted Munia is a small perching bird. The Scaly breasted Munia has been introduced in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, where they are already widespread in lowland agricultural areas and are called pechijabao. Flocks of fifteen or more have been observed visiting bird feeders in Orange County, California, USA. It has also been introduced to Australia where it has a common to uncommon distribution along the east coast, from north of Townsville to south of Sydney.

The Scaly-breasted Munia is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on seeds. It frequents open woodland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure in a tree or under the eaves of a house into which 4–10 white eggs are laid. The Scaly-breasted Munia is 11–12cm in length. The adult has a stubby dark bill, brown upperparts and darker brown head. The underparts are white with black scale markings. The sexes are similar, but immature birds have pale brown upperparts, lack the darker head and have uniform buff underparts.

Southern Yellow Grosbeak

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The Southern Yellow Grosbeak is a species of Cardinal family. It is very similar to Yellow Grosbeak.

The Southern Yellow Grosbeak found mostly in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist mountains, subtropical or tropical dry shrub-land, and heavily degraded former forest.

Tricoloured Munia

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The tricoloured munia is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It inhabits wet grassland habitats. It may also be found in tropical lowland moist forest habitats.

Immature birds have pale brown upperparts, lack the dark head found in adults, and have uniform buff underparts that can be confused with immatures of other munias such as the scaly-breasted munia.

White-rumped Munia

Total Photos: 7

The White-rumped Munia is a common resident breeding bird in range from tropical southern Asia to southern China and South-east Asia.

It is a tiny gregarious bird which feeds mainly on seeds. It frequents open woodland, grassland and scrub. The nest is a large domed grass structure in a tree, bush or grass into which 3-8 white eggs are laid.

It is approximately 10 to 11cm in length with a long black tail. The adult of the south Indian race has a stubby bill, dark brown upperparts, head, breast and wings, and white underparts and rump. The sexes are similar, but there is racial variation. Northern race has paler brown upperparts and breast, and buff underparts. The rump only is white.

Yellow-breasted Greenfinch

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It is found in the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, primarily in the mid-altitudes of the Himalayas, and in parts of Southeast Asia. It ranges across Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are temperate forests and temperate shrubland.

Zebra Finch

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The Zebra Finch is the most common and familiar finch of Central Australia and ranges over most of the continent, avoiding only the cool moist south and the tropical far north. It also can be found natively in Indonesia and East Timor. The bird has been introduced to Puerto Rico, Portugal, Brazil and the United State.

The ground-dwelling Zebra Finch grows to a size of about 10 cm long and usually eats grass seeds. Zebra Finches inhabit a wide range of grasslands and forests, usually close to water. They are typically found in open steppes with scattered bushes and trees, but have adapted to human disturbances, taking advantage of human-made watering holes and large patches of deforested land. Zebra Finches; including many human-bred variants to the species; are widely kept by genetic researchers, breeding hobbyists and pet owners.