15 Types of Finches – Popular and Rare Species
Finches are arguably the most colorful and beautiful birds on the globe. These birds belong to the Fringillidae family of birds. They have a widespread distribution throughout the planet.
Finches are small-sized birds that inhabit coniferous forests, woodlands, and lowlands across the globe. There are various types of finches in the world.
These birds are distinct in terms of their natural habitat, appearance, and diet. Let’s explore the different types of finches in this guide.
Arabian Golden-Winged Grosbeak
The golden-winged grosbeak (Rhynchostruthus percivali) is a finch subspecies found in Yemen, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. This finch is also present in other parts of the Middle East.
The golden-winged grosbeak inhabits multiple habitats. It inhabits arid woodlands and mountains. Some golden-winged finches also inhabit tropical and subtropical forests.
The golden-winged grosbeak primary diet consists of fruits. Its favorite fruits include fruits from the acacia and juniper trees. The bird also forages on small berries, buds, and a wide array of seeds.
The golden-winged grosbeak male has a grey-brown overall appearance. The male also has a black bill. Its head is brown, while the wings and the tail have bright yellow patches. The male also has distinct white cheeks and a grey mask. The female golden-winged grosbeak has a similar appearance to its male counterpart, although the female coloration is somewhat duller.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the wild golden-winged grosbeak is the least endangered finch subspecies. However, the population of this finch bird is slowly declining due to habitat destruction.
The hawfinch is a type of bird that belongs to the finch family of Fringillidae. It is a distant cousin of the Japanese grosbeak and the Chinese grosbeak. The finch spreads across Europe and throughout temperate Asia.
The hawfinch inhabits the deciduous forests in Europe and Eastern Asia. The finch has also been spotted in human settlements, such as in gardens and parks. The finch also inhabits pinewoods and forests, particularly forests with plum and cherry trees.
The hawfinch primarily feeds on seeds, particularly tough seeds from pine trees. The finch also forages for wild fruits on trees. Its strong beak enables it to remove seeds from fruits such as plums and cherries.
The hawfinch is a large finch with a large round head, a thick neck, and a solid conical beak with a metallic appearance. The hawfinch has brown legs and short pinkish legs. Female hawfinches have a paler coloration than male hawfinches. Males are also slightly bigger than females.
The IUCN classifies the hawfinch as ‘least concern,’ meaning the bird isn’t endangered. This conservation status means that hawfinches have enormous numbers of all the finch species. Moreover, these finches have a fast-breeding rate.
The pine grosbeak is a prominent type of bird in the finch family of Fringillidae. The finch bird is prevalent in coniferous woods throughout Alaska, Canada, and the western mountainous regions of the US. The bird can also inhabit vast parts of Siberia.
The pine grosbeak lives in the evergreen forests with pine or spruce. The bird also inhabits the subalpine forests across Eurasia. The finch bird also lives in vast pine forests across Nevada, California. Moreover, it can live in the same habitat during winter or migrate to lower elevations.
Almost 100% of the finch’s diet consists of seeds, buds, and fruits from pine, birch, spruce, and maple. The pine grosbeak forages in trees or on the ground. Although the bird is a vegetarian, it occasionally feeds on spiders and insects, especially during summer.
The adult pine grosbeaks have long forked blacktails, white wing bars, large bills, and black wings. Adults have distinct rose-red heads, backs, and rumps. Males also have conical beaks, black wings, and black tails. Adult pine grosbeaks have an olive-yellow color on their heads and rumps.
Females have a grey coloration on their backs and underbellies. Juveniles have an overall darker coloration, and they also have a fuzzy appearance.
Wild pine grosbeaks are highly endangered. These finches have been declining steadily due to factors such as climate change and natural calamities like earthquakes and wildfires.
The purple finch is an attractive finch belonging to the finch family of Fringillidae. The finch is common in North America and Eurasia. There are other subspecies of the purple finch in South America, Africa, and the northern hemisphere.
The purple finch inhabits mixed and coniferous forests. Purple finches also inhabit wooded areas along the coastal regions. Purple finches are considered migrating birds since purple finches in Canada have migrated from Canada to the southern US, probably to find suitable habitats.
Purple finches forage in bushes and trees for berries, insects, and seeds. These birds are especially fond of millet, thistle, and sunflower seeds.
Adult male purple finches have a raspberry coloration on their heads, rumps, breasts, and backs. Males also have streaked backs. Adult female purple finches have a white underbelly and light brown upperparts. Females also have dark brown streaks all over their bodies. Furthermore, females have white lines on their faces, above their eyes.
Although purple finches face threats from predators, diseases, and blood parasites, IUCN classifies these finches as ‘least concern,’ meaning they aren’t endangered bird species.
Socotra Grosbeak Finch
The Socotra Grosbeak is a type of finch endemic to the Socotra Island, an island in the Indian Ocean and off Yemen’s coast. Being only limited to the Socotra Island, this finch has the lowest population of all the golden-winged grosbeaks subspecies.
The Socotra grosbeak lives in many habitats, ranging from sea level to the mountains. The finch inhabits spurge-dominated woodlands and relatively arid scrub. The Socotra grosbeak also inhabits mountains and forests where there are plenty of juniper and spurge plants.
The Socotra grosbeak primarily feeds on fruits from the juniper, acacia, and spurge plants. Nonetheless, the finch can also feed on fruits from various plants prevalent in Socotra Island.
Male Socotra Grosbeaks have a grey-brown coloration, dark heads, and black bills. The males also have white cheek patches and bright yellow patches on their wings and tails. The most noticeable physical feature of male Socotra Grosbeaks is the black masks on their heads. Female Socotra Grosbeaks have a similar appearance to Socotra Grosbeaks.
However, the coloration of females is somehow duller. Juveniles appear streaky, and they also lack the distinctive head patterns present in adults.
Since the Socotra Grosbeak is strictly found in Socotra Island, the finch bird is among the highly endangered finch subspecies in the world.
Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch
The gray-crowned rosy finch is a finch that belongs to the passerine bird species. The finch is native to western Canada, Northwestern United States, and Alaska.
The gray-crowned rosy finch inhabits tundra or alpine habitats. The finch also inhabits rocky areas in Alaska’s Pribilof and the Aleutian Islands. Gray-crowned rosy finches nest near talus, rock, cliffs, and glaciers.
Gray-crowned rosy finch primary diet consists of insects and seeds. The finch forages for insects and seeds on the snow, scree, talus, and glaciers. Moreover, the finch perches on low vegetation, trees, and rocks while feeding.
The gray-crowned rosy finch is a medium to large-sized finch with long wings and a long notched tail. Adult-gray crowned rosy finches have brown backs and breasts. The rest of their bodies, including the wings, are mainly pink.
Males also have a grey throat and forehead. Adult females and juveniles have a similar appearance to the male finches. However, their coloration is much paler.
Gray-crowned rosy finches are rarely seen because they live in rocky and remote habitats. Hence, these wild finches aren’t endangered, and therefore the IUCN classifies them as least concern.
Somali Grosbeak Finch
Popularly known as the Somali grosbeak, the Somali golden-winged grosbeak is a small-sized finch subspecies endemic to Somaliland. The Somali grosbeak is considered a distinct finch subspecies.
The Somali grosbeak is prevalent in forested dry riverbeds across Somaliland. It also inhabits scrub areas and acacia and juniper forests.
The diet of the Somali grosbeak consists primarily of fruits from acacia and junipers. The finch also forages on seeds, both on trees and the ground. Nonetheless, seeds are the last diet option for this finch.
Both male and female Somali grosbeaks have an overall grey-brown coloration, although the coloration is duller in females. Their black bills are smaller compared with the beaks of other types of golden-winged grosbeaks.
The Somali grosbeak is only found in Somali. Its population has declined due to habitat loss and harsh weather conditions such as drought. Thus, it is an endangered wild bird species.
Also known as Lichtenstein’s desert finch, the desert is a large brown finch found in Africa and the Middle East. There are also vast populations of desert finches in North America.
The desert finch inhabits desert and arid regions. It is commonly found in dry, open areas. Nonetheless, the finch isn’t only restricted to deserts and arid and semiarid regions. The desert finch also frequents towns, cities, and villages.
The desert finch primary diet consists of seeds. It occasionally preys on various insects, although its favorite food consists of a variety of seeds.
Male desert finches have stout black bills. Males also have white rectrices and regimes patches of rosy pink on their wings. Females have duller coloration than males. However, both adult males and females have a similar color pattern.
The wild desert finch isn’t an endangered finch subspecies. Nonetheless, drought and destruction of the environment continue to reduce the population of these finches.
Also known as the greenfinch, the European greenfinch is a tiny passerine bird that belongs to the finch family of Fringillidae. The finch is widespread across southwest Asia, North Africa, and Europe.
Wild European greenfinches inhabit forested and wooded habitats. These birds also live close to human settlements, including gardens, farmlands, and parks.
European greenfinch feeds primarily on seeds from a variety of plants. Its favorite diet consists of sunflower seeds. The finch can also feed on berries, buds, and even insects, especially during the nesting season.
The European greenfinch has an overall green coloration, with a yellow line in its tail and wings. Male and female European greenfinches have similar coloration, although females and young finches are duller, and they also have brown tones on their backs. The European greenfinch has a thick and conical bill.
The IUCN doesn’t list the European greenfinch as an endangered finch species. However, predators and diseases claim a lot of European greenfinches each year.
The pine siskin is a type of finch that is widespread throughout Northern America. The finch is considered a migratory bird with a sporadic winter range.
The pine siskin lives in multiple habitats, including mixed woods, weedy areas, and alders. The finch mainly breeds in mixed and coniferous woods. The finch is also common in isolated conifer groves and woods.
The diet of the pine siskin comprises seeds, insects, and vegetable matter. Its favorite diet consists of seeds from alder, spruce, birch, and other trees. The pine siskin also feeds on grasses and weeds.
Male and female pine siskins have a brown coloration on their upper parts, while the underparts are pale. These finches have a heavy streaking throughout their bodies. Their tails are short and forked, while the bills are conical but a bit slender and elongated.
Pine siskins have been experiencing a sharp decline since 1966. Thus, the IUCN has listed these finches as endangered bird species.
The twite is a tiny brown bird that belongs to the finch family. The finch is prevalent in Europe, China, and Siberia.
The finch habitats include forested areas, woodlands, and moorlands. Twites are migratory birds, and they can migrate to long distances during winter in search of suitable habitats.
Twites feed primarily on tiny seeds, particularly seeds from sorrel and dandelion. They can also feed on plant matter and smaller insects, although on rare occasions.
Twites have an overall brown coloration. Their underparts can be buff or whitish. They also have a brown streak across their bodies. Their bills keep changing color depending on the seasons. The bills are usually grey in summer and yellow in winter.
The IUCN lists the twite as least concern, which means this finch isn’t endangered while living in the wild. Nonetheless, the population of twites keeps decreasing each year due to predation and diseases.
Lesser Redpoll Finch
This tiny finch bird is native to Europe and other parts of New Zealand. The finch bird is also a migrating bird, and it migrates further south of Europe during winter.
The lesser redpoll inhabits mixed woodlands, wet woodlands, and birch scrubs. Some redpolls can be seen in human settlements, including farm fields, gardens, and parks.
The lesser redpoll feeds on tiny seeds from various trees, including birch, alder, and spruce. They hide among between tree branches while feeding. You can spot a lesser redpoll foraging on trees during winter after the trees have shed their leaves.
The Lesser redpoll has a streak and brown patches across the body. Its bill is conical, short, and sharply pointed, and it is pale yellow. Adult lesser redpolls have bright down coloration and darker streaks. Males also have red foreheads. Females have a similar appearance, although they lack the pink color on their breasts like males.
The lesser redpoll isn’t an endangered finch subspecies while living in the wild. Hence, the IUCN classifies the bird as ‘least concern.
Also referred to as the lady Gouldian finch, the Gouldian finch is a colorful finch that is prevalent in Australia and other parts of Australasia.
The Gouldian Finch inhabits tropical savanna woodlands and other forested areas. The finch also lives in grasslands.
The Gouldian Finch feeds on seeds. Grass seeds are the finch’s favorite foods, although it also forages for other types of seeds on trees and grounds.
Both sexes of the Gouldian Finch are brightly colored. They have conspicuous green, black, red, and yellow markings on their bodies. However, males have a purple chest, while females’ chest is mauve.
The IUCN classified this finch as ‘near threatened’ since its number remains stable to date.
Zebra finches are small birds that are found all over Australia. They are sometimes called Bengalese finches or Australian zebra finches.
They are known for their beautiful plumage with black and white vertical stripes.
Zebra finches are popular pet birds, but they can also make a great backyard companion for anyone who likes to watch animals.
Zebra finches live in groups and they can be found in gardens, parks, woodlands, and even inside homes.
As the name implies, zebra finches share many of their behaviors with zebras. For example, zebra finches often groom each other by picking off any dirt or stubborn feathers on their body.
The American Goldfinch is a small bird native to North America. They can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests to grasslands, and even urban environments.
They are sometimes seen chasing each other through trees in their wintering grounds. In the springtime, they return from their non-breeding range in the northern U.S., southern Canada, and Mexico to breed in much of the United States and Canada.
The goldfinches spend the majority of their time during the day eating and looking for food for their nests and families.
Goldfinches use their beaks to poke seeds and eat insects from under leaves, ground litter, or other surfaces.
There are different types of finches apart from these finches in this guide. It helps to know the various kinds of finches to help you decide which type of finch can make an excellent bird pet for you.