Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch. Fallbrook, California. May 4, 2014. Greg Gillson.
This is the most common goldfinch in southern California. This bird's northernmost regular range is near Portland, Oregon.

Lesser Goldfinches maintain their bright plumage year-round. American Goldfinches, on the other hand, employ a different molt strategy. The bright yellow male "wild canaries" of summer, molt into a dull buffy non-breeding plumage for the winter. Thus, in winter, Lesser Goldfinches are brighter yellow than American Goldfinches!

More details of the American Goldfinch molt are here.