American Goldfinch Winter Plumage Identification

female American Goldfinch in non-breeding winter plumage

Q: Unable to identify bird. Location is Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Bird is little smaller than sparrow. Thanks. -Bob Huff

A: This is a female American Goldfinch in its winter plumage or non-breeding plumage which is paler and drabber than the summer breeding plumage.

Both males and females will be more brownish or grayish in color, sometimes the males will have a black spot on the forehead near the base of the bill and be slightly more "brighter" overall.

The American Goldfinch northern winter range usually does not extend much further north than the border of the United States and Canada.

Winter range maps show the range no further north than the border of Montana with Alberta, but since Lethbridge is not that much further north, it would not be too unusual for goldfinch to be there.

American Goldfinch in Winter Plumage

The American Goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey and Washington.

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Comment: I have dozens of American (Eastern) Goldfinches right now at my feeders. I live in East Texas near Bullard, TX on a tree farm. I built my home in 2010 and have seen them each winter since. Thank you for helping me to identify them. -by Bird Watcher

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