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House Finch Adult male Adult female Conservation status Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)[1] Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Passeriformes Suborder: Passeri Parvorder: Passerida Family: Fringillidae Subfamily: Carduelinae Genus: Carpodacus Species: C. mexicanus Binomial name Carpodacus mexicanus (Müller, 1776) Synonyms Burrica mexicana The House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) is a bird in the finch family Fringillidae. This species and the other "American rosefinches" are usually placed in the rosefinch genus Carpodacus. It has been proposed to place them in a distinct genus Burrica, but the American Ornithologists Union rejected a proposal to do so in 2008.[2] Contents 1 Description 2 Range and habitat 3 Feeding 4 Breeding 5 Parasites 6 References 7 External links // Description Adults have a long, square-tipped brown tail and are a brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers. Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are. In most cases, adult males' heads, necks and shoulders are reddish.[3][4] This color sometimes extends to the stomach and down the back, between the wings. Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons and is derived from the berries and fruits in its diet.[5][6] As a result, the colors range from pale straw-yellow through bright orange (both rare) to deep, intense red. Adult females have brown upperparts and streaked underparts. Their song is a rapid, cheery warble or a variety of chirps.[7] Range and habitat These birds are mainly permanent residents; some eastern birds migrate south.[8] Their breeding habitat is urban and suburban areas in the East as well as various semi-open areas in the West from southern Canada to northern Florida[6] and the Mexican state of Oaxaca; the population in central Chiapas may be descended from escaped cagebirds.[4] Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s. The birds were sold illegally in New York City[6] as "Hollywood Finches", a marketing artifice.[5] To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, vendors and owners released the birds. They have become naturalized; in some unforested areas, they have displaced the native Purple Finch and non-native House Sparrow.[9] In 1870, or before, they were introduced into Hawaii.[10] Range increase of House Finch from Christmas Bird Count data 1958–1961 1968–1971 1978–1981 1988–1990 Feeding Yellow variant caused by diet. House Finches forage on the ground or in vegetation normally. They primarily eat grains, seeds and berries, being voracious consumers of weed seeds such as nettle and dandelion; included are incidental small insects such as aphids. They are frequent visitors to bird feeders throughout the year, particularly if stocked with sunflower or nyjer seed, and will congregate at hanging nyjer sock feeders. The House Finch is known to damage orchard fruit and consume commercially grown grain, but is generally not considered a significant pest, rather an annoyance.[11] Breeding Nest and eggs Same nest with young nestlings Older nestlings in nest in a Tree Cholla Nests are made in cavities, including openings in buildings, hanging plants, and other cup-shaped outdoor decorations. Sometimes nests abandoned by other birds are used. Nests may be re-used for subsequent broods or in following years. The nest is built by the female, sometimes in as little as two days.[12] It is well made of twigs and debris, forming a cup shape, usually 1.8 to 2.7 m (5.9 to 8.9 ft) above the ground.[12] During courtship, the male will touch bills with the female. He may then present the female with choice bits of food and, if she imitates the posture of a hungry chick, actually feed her. The male also feeds the female during the breeding and incubation of both eggs and young,[13] and the male is the primary feeder of the fledgelings (who can be differentiated from the females by the pin feathers remaining on their heads). The female lays clutches of eggs from February through August, two or more broods per year with 2 to 6 eggs per brood, most commonly 4 or 5. The egg laying usually takes place in the morning, at the rate of one egg per day.[13] The eggs are a pale bluish green with few black spots and a smooth, somewhat glossy surface. In response to mite infestation, the mother finch may lay one gender of egg first, which increases the chances of the young finches' survival.[14] The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days. Shortly after hatching, she removes the empty eggshells from the nest.[15][16] The hatchlings are pink with closed eyes and tufts of fluffy down.[17] The female always feeds the young, and the male usually joins in.[13] The young are silent for the first seven or eight days, and subsequently start peeping during feedings.[12] Initially, the mother carries fecal sacs out of the nest, but when the young become older, she no longer carries them all away, allowing droppings to accumulate around the edge of the nest.[12] Before flying, the young often climb into adjacent plants, and usually fledge at about 11 to 19 days after hatching.[12] Dandelion seeds are among the preferred seeds fed to the young.[15] House Finches are aggressive enough to drive other birds away from places such as feeders.[18] Parasites The house finch may be infected by a number of parasites including Plasmodium relictum[19] and Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which caused the population of house finches in eastern North America to crash during the 1990s.[20] The mite Pellonyssus reedi is often found on house finch nestlings, particularly for nests later in the season.[21] The Brown-Headed Cowbird, a brood parasite, will lay its eggs in house finch nests, although the diet house finches feed their young is inadequate for the young cowbirds, which rarely survive.[22] References ^ BirdLife International (2004). Carpodacus mexicanus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. ^ Banks, Chesser, Cicero, Dunn, Kratttter, Lovetttte, Rasmussen, Remsen, Rising, Stotz, and Winker, Richard C., R. Terrrry, Carla , Jon L., Andrew W., Irbrby J., Pamela, J. V., James D. , Douglas F., and Kevin (2008). "Forty-ninth Supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North Americancancan Birds" (PDF). The Auk 125 (3): 11. http://www.aou.org/checklist/suppl/AOU_checklist_suppl_49.pdf.  ^ Sibley, David (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. Knopf. ISBN 0679451226.  ^ a b Steve N. G. Howell and Sophie Webb (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. pp. 757–758. ISBN 0198540124.  ^ a b Caldwell, Eldon R.. "IV Birds - House Finch". http://www.imperial.edu/birds/h-finch.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-19.  ^ a b c "All About Birds: House Finch". Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/House_Finch_dtl.html. Retrieved 2008-04-19.  ^ House finch Carpodacus mexicanus ^ Belthoff and Gauthreaux, James R. and Sidney A.; Gauthreaux, (1991). "Partial Migration and Differential Winter Distribution of House Finches in the Eastern United States" (PDF). The Condor 93 (2): 374. doi:10.2307/1368953. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v093n02/p0374-p0382.pdf.  ^ Wootton, JT. date = 1987 (1987). "Interspecific Competition between Introduced House Finch Populations and Two Associated Passerine Species". Oecologia 71 (3): 325–331. doi:10.1007/BF00378703.  ^ Caum, E.L. (1933). "The exotic birds of Hawaii". Bishop Museum Occasional Papers (Bernice P. Bishop Museum) 10 (9).  ^ Montana state government. "House finch detailed information". http://fwp.mt.gov/fieldguide/detail_ABPBY04040.aspx. Retrieved 2007-08-14.  ^ a b c d e Evanden, Fred G. (1957). "Observations on Nesting Behavior of the House Finch" (PDF). The Condor (University of California Press/Cooper Ornithological Society) 59 (2). http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v059n02/p0112-p0117.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-28.  ^ a b c Thompson, William L (1960). "Agonistic Behavior in the House Finch. Part I: Annual Cycle and Display Patterns" (PDF). The Condor (University of California PressCooper Ornithological Society) 62 (4): 245. doi:10.2307/1365516. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v062n04/p0245-p0271.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-28.  ^ Badyaev, Hamstra, Oh, Seaman, Alexander V., Terri L., Kevin P., Dana A. Acevedo; Hamstra, TL; Oh, KP; Acevedo Seaman, DA (September 26, 2006). "Sex-biased maternal effects reduce ectoparasite-induced mortality in a passerine bird". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (National Academy of Sciences (United States)) 103 (39): 14406. doi:10.1073/pnas.0602452103. PMID 16983088. PMC 1599976. http://www.pnas.org/content/103/39/14406.full. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  ^ a b Bergtold, W.H. (1913). "A Study of the House Finch" (PDF). The Auk. http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v030n01/p0040-p0073.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-23.  ^ Woods, Robert S. (1968). "Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds: House Finch". Smithsonian Institution United States National Museum Bulletin (237): 290–314. http://www.birdsbybent.com/ch41-50/houfinch.html.  ^ "House Finch Nest Survey" (PDF). http://www.birds.cornell.edu/hofi/hofins4.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-28.  ^ "Backyard Birds of Winter in Nova Scotia". Museum.gov.ns.ca. http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mnh/nature/winbirds/colour/c07.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  ^ Hartup, Oberc, Stott-Messick, Davis, and Swarthout, Barry K., Allison, Briana, and Elliott C.H. (April 2008). "Blood Parasites of House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) from Georgia and New York". Journal of Wildlife Diseases 44 (2).  ^ Nolan, Hill, and Stoehr, Paul M., Geoffrey E., and Andrew M. (7 June 1998). "Sex, Size, and Plumage Redness Predict House Finch Survival in an Epidemic" (PDF). Proceedings: Biological Sciences (The Royal Society) 265 (1400). http://journals.royalsociety.org/content/g2mlgg7n4mwpwtw8/fulltext.pdf.  ^ Stoehr, Nolan, Hill, and McGraw, Andrew M., Paul M., Geoffrey E., Kevin J.; Nolan, Paul M.; Hill, Geoffrey E.; McGraw, Kevin J. (2000). "Nest mites (Pellonyssus reedi) and the reproductive biology of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)" (PDF). The Canadian Journal of Zoology 78: 2126. doi:10.1139/cjz-78-12-2126. http://www.public.asu.edu/~kjmcgraw/pubs/Can.J.Zool.00MS.pdf.  ^ Kozlovic, Knapton, and Barlow, Daniel R., Richard W., and Jon C. (1996). "Unsuitability of the House Finch as a Host of the Brown-Headed Cowbird" (PDF). The Condor 96 (2). http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v098n02/p0253-p0258.pdf.  External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: House Finch Florida's Introduced Birds: House Finch ("Carpodacus mexicanus") - University of Florida fact sheet Comprehensive information with sound files at the US Geological Survey site House Finch videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection South Dakota Birds - House Finch Information and Photos House Finch Bird Sound