Lesser Goldfinch

Editor’s Note: This is a shell account and still needs to be completed, but is a species we plan to cover.

Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria (Say 1853)


Natural History: – Inhabits a wide variety of habitats of the western United States from Oregon east into Colorado and Texas, and south to Mexico. Seeds, flowers, buds, fruits, and infrequently insects such as plant lice.


Object of study: mimicry in song

Flight call: – lower-pitched and more harsh (much less harsh than siskin though) than contact calls of Lawrence’s, and lacking the descending character of American Goldfinch calls; each species gives dis-tinctive, stereotyped, 1- to 5-note calls with little individual variation. Common call is a tee-ee, which is more whistled than the throaty tee-u of Pine Siskin.

Irruptions: – Not known to be irruptive, but more investigation might prove otherwise.Its range has been advancing northward and eastward the last few decades though. The Lesser Goldfinch will visit nyjer or sunflower seed feeders of all shapes and forms including nyjer seed socks.

FiRN Needs: Recordings of song from the entire distribution area would be appreciated.

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