Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

Purple Finch

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Fringillidae | [latin] Carpodacus purpureus | [UK] Purple Finch | [FR] Roselin Pourpre | [DE] Purpurgimpel | [ES] Gorrion purpureo | [NL] Amerikaanse Roodmus


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Carpodacus purpureus NA n, w, also nw Mexico
Carpodacus purpureus californicus
Carpodacus purpureus purpureus

Physical charateristics

Like a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.b Male: Dull rose-red, brightest on the head, chest, and rump. Female and immature: Heavily striped, brown; similar to a female House Finch, but note the
i broad dark jaw stripe, dark ear patch, and broad light stripe behind the eye.

Listen to the sound of Purple Finch

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/P/Purple Finch.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 22 cm wingspan max.: 24 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 13 days fledging max.: 15 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America : North, West, also Northwest Mexico


Woods, groves, suburbs.
Breeds mostly in coniferous and mixed woods, both in forest interior and along edges. In Pacific states, also breeds in oak woodland and streamside trees. In migration and winter, found in a wide variety of wooded and se
mi-open areas, including forest, suburbs, swamps, and overgrown fields.


In courtship, male hops near female with his wings drooping, tail raised, chest puffed out, then vibrates wings until he rises a short distance in the air. May hold bits of nest material in bill and give soft song during this performance.
Nest: Placed on horizontal branch or fork of tree (usually conifer in East, deciduous trees often used in far West), often well out from trunk. Typically about 15-20′ above ground but may be lowe
r or up to 50′ high. Nest (probably built mostly by female) is compact open cup of twigs, weeds, rootlets, strips of bark, lined with fine grass, moss, animal hair.
Eggs: 4-5, sometimes 3-6. Pale greenish blue, marked with black and brown. Incubation is by female, about 13 days.
Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 1 brood per year, possibly 2 in Pacific Coast region.

Feeding habits

Seeds, buds, berries, insects.
Feeds mainly on seeds in winter, including seeds of trees such as ash and elm, as well as weed and grass seeds. Also eats buds of many trees, and many berries and small fruits. Eats some insects such as caterpillars and beetles, mainly in summer. Young m
ay be fed mostly on seeds.
Behavior: Forages for seeds and insects up in trees and shrubs, also in low weeds and sometimes on the ground. When not nesting, may forage in small flocks. Comes to bird feeders.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Purple Finch status Least Concern


Canada, Pacific states, northern Baja California, northeastern United States. Winters to southern United States. Migration:
Migrates in flocks, mostly traveling by day. Migration is spread over a considerable period in both spring and fall.

Distribution map

Purple Finch distribution range map

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