U.S. State Bird of New Hampshire -
Purple Finch

Purple Finch

Purple Finches are common breeding birds of Northern evergreen forests that Roger Tory Peterson says look like a "sparrow dipped in raspberry juice. They leave the coldest areas during the Winter to search for food (conifer seeds - "pine cones") and Winter along the West Coast and from the Central and Southern U.S. up to the North East.

It appears they are being replaced in the East by the House Finch which was introduced from Western North America to New York City about 1950.

  • Official New Hampshire State Bird: Purple Finch
  • American Ornithologists' Union Common Name: Purple Finch
  • Other names: Winter Finch
  • Family: Fringillidae, Finches
  • Scientific name: Carpodacus purpureus
  • Length: 6" (15 cm)
  • Diet: Primarily seeds, insects, fruit some tree buds and blossoms from winter to early spring. Adds insects in spring, feeds heavily on fruit in summer. Young fed mostly seeds.
  • Voice: Song a slightly hoarse, warbled plidi tididi preete plidi tititi preeer; bright, lively, and clearly structured with accented ending; generally ends with strongly descending trill cheeeer; overall trend rising. Call a short, whistled phrase like vireo song tweeyoo. Flight call a light, hard pik with musical overtones.
  • Habitat: Found in coniferous or mixed woodland borders, suburbs, parks, orchards.
  • Displays: Courting male hops about dangling wings and puffing out chest. With wings vibrating rapidly and tail cocked, male softly vocalizes and may rise 6-12" off the ground, occasionally while holding nest material in beak and singing.
  • Number of broods: 1
  • Nest: In coniferous or deciduous tree, 6-40' above ground, on horizontal branch, far from trunk. Neat shallow cup of twigs, fine roots, grass, lined with rootlets, hair, moss.
  • Eggs: Averages 4-5 pale greenish-blue eggs, marked with browns, blacks. 0.8" (20 mm).
  • Incubation period: 13 days
  • Fledge: 14 days after hatching
  • Longevity Record: 10 Years and 9 months (according to USGS Bird Banding Lab)

Purple Finch Compared to House Finch Video

The female Purple Finch feeds the entire time in the video. Watch as other birds including a female and male House Finch also feed and then leave. The additional birds are Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadee. The Purple Finch is a heavier bodied bird and notice the dark jaw stripe and ear patch on the female Purple Finch that is lacking on the female House Finch.


The Purple Finch was adopted in 1957 as the New Hampshire State Bird by the State Legislature changing the Official State Bird from the New Hampshire Hen to a native wild bird.

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