Sunday, November 25, 2012

House Finch

Haemorhous mexicanus
The House Finch is a bird that once was found only in the Western United States and Mexico, but over the past few decades that have spread across the continent and can now be found on the Atlantic Coast! Estimates are that there are over a billion of them in North America, and they can form flocks that number several hundred birds.

House Finches are small little birds with brownish coloration and blunt, squared tails. The males actually change color slightly over the course of the year, becoming more vibrant when they have the best food supplies. You see, their red or yellow colors come from what they eat, so abundant food leads to brighter hues.

The bright feathers are very important come breeding time. Females pick the males with the best colors to mate with, because those males clearly known how to locate food-- a very important trait when you may have up to 6 offspring at once! Interestingly, House Finches feed their chicks an exclusively vegetarian diet. Most birds, even ones that eat plants as adults, feed their young insects and other critters to give them a good amount of protein.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : North America
Size : Length up to 5.5in (14cm), Wingspan up to 10in (25cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Passeriformes
Family : Fringillidae -- Genus : Haemorhous -- Species : H. mexicanus

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