Bird of the Week, September 14, 2012
Lawrence's Goldfinch


Lawrence's Goldfinch by Greg Homel

The Lawrence’s Goldfinch is a striking little finch, with gray body plumage, yellow and black wing, and a yellow breast patch; males also sport a black face, forehead, and chin.


This bird is known for its wandering ways; it can be common in a certain area one year and totally absent the next. It feeds almost entirely on seeds, particularly those of the common fiddleneck plant. It will also visit backyard feeders for niger thistle seed. During the breeding season, males form small flocks while females nest. Outside the breeding season, both sexes gather in small flocks of fewer than 50 birds, sometimes with other small, seed-eating birds.


Much of this goldfinch’s breeding range is under pressure from rising human populations and development. Since it has a relatively small population, habitat loss may put it at risk.  Its breeding status and distribution is still poorly known; more study is needed to fully understand its population dynamics.




Photo: Greg Homel, Natural Elements Productions; Range Map, NatureServe