Monday, 17 June 2013

Interesting finch from Rainy River

I briefly mentioned this bird on the Rainy River trip report but thought it would be worth its own post.  We found this bird at the feeders at Harris Hill where it really stood out for its different shade of colour. Initially we tried to turn it into a Cassin's Finch just because it looked similar to a Purple Finch but different....but that didn't work...we've had a couple suggestions that this could be a House Finch x Purple Finch hybrid.  We would love some more opinions on this bird...
photo by Alvan Buckley

With Purple Finch (left) for comparison. photo by Alvan Buckley


  1. Years ago I had a similar bird at my feeder here in Wallaceburg. Wasn't sure what to think of it, but it was 'in-between'!

  2. Hi Mike. Interesting bird. The Birds of North America (2012) mentions one documented case of a Purple x House Finch hybrid in the wild (Wootton 1996). We asked Michel Gosselin of the Canadian Museum to look at the photos. Michel said "I found at least one similar-coloured Purple Finch in the collection (Manitoulin, summer 1982), so I am reluctant to say it's a hybrid." Your bird shows two distinct Purple Finch characters: (1) a prominent pale area between eye and bill and (2) a forked tail. Colour variations are expected as in related finches. Ron and Jean

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