Thursday, April 16, 2015

Purple Finches vs Red House Finches in Regina, SK

After waiting and hoping for a Purple Finch to join the House Finches in my Regina, SK, backyard, I was lucky and caught some great pix of a stunning pink male Purple Finch this morning.

I'll confess: My red House Finches are so red that I kept hoping maybe they were really Purple Finches, just because that sounded more glamourous... But every time I wondered, searches online — and in my bird books — would soon dissuade me. And once you see both, they are clearly different, and the Purple Finches are stunners!

First, the male Purple Finch: The raspberry pink colour is very noticeable, even when he's hiding behind our lilac branches. At closer range, the pink wash across its wing and back feathers becomes evident, as do the sometimes-slightly-erect head feathers and the raspberry pink — but not brown — streaks on its chest.

Male Purple Finch, washed in pink.  © SB
Male Purple Finch - strong reddish pink colour
on back  and wings ©SB

The male House Finch, on the other hand, though equally delightfully bright, has a more limited area of reddish colouring: Its head, chest and lower back. And, House Finches all seem to have strong brown speckling across their chests. For most in our backyard, the red is more of a scarlet shade, although we've also had some that are yellow, and a few, orange.    

The back of the House Finch is much more brown
- as is the back of its head. ©SB
Lots of scarlet on this House Finch,
though its head and belly are brown. ©SB
The female Purple Finch also has very distinctive facial markings, with clear whitish stripes on its face.  

Lovely female Purple Finch with white facial stripes  ©SB

The female House Finch, in comparison, has a softer-toned, all-over brownish face, with delicate brown chest streaks. (Personally, I love the female House Finches; they're one of those birds that looks drab at first, but whose subtle contrast can be quite delightful.) 

Pretty -- and subltely marked -- female House Finch © SB

What are these? Purple and House Finches 
Location: Backyard, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada 
Photo dates: Male Purple Finch, April 15, 2015; female Purple Finch, April 10, 2015. Male House Finch, April 7 & 15, 2014; female House Finch, April 15, 2015.  



  1. Great photos! what lens do you use?

    1. Thanks. I usually have a Nikkn 70-300 on the camera. I have a longer one, but this one's easy to handhold.


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