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Difference Between House Finch and Purple Finch

House finch Purple finch

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#1 Tclarkwood

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:13 PM

What is the easiest way to tell the difference between house finches and purple finches? Believe I have both feeding out of backyard dish feeder. There are some slight differences but it is too close to call. Thanks for the tips!

#2 cwj2323

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:01 PM

This link explains it the best
House Finch Vs. Purple Finch

Now that I've finally seen both, I can say they are pretty easy to tell apart. The Purple Finch is a different red from the House. We haven't had any Purple yet come to our yard, but I am ever hopefu. We've seen them at park feeders. The quickest marking for me with the male is to look at the crown, not how red they are. A brown crown will be a House. The females are easy with the Purples having a pale eyebrow.

#3 cestma

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:26 AM

"Now that I've finally seen both, I can say they are pretty easy to tell apart."

So true. I feel much the same way about Hairy vs. Downy Woodpeckers. Before you see the rarer one (us. Hairy), you pore over guides and parse minor differences in the birds you see. But when the rarer species shows up, it's usually pretty obvious. So in other words, it's kinda like, "if you have to ask, you probably haven't seen the rarer one yet!"

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#4 grand_poobah

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

A house finch has a brown colored back, while a purple finch has a red/purple colored back.

#5 Tclarkwood

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:57 PM

Thanks.... I do see the difference quite easily now. They are both at my feeder but I have a lot more house finches than I do puple finches. As a matter of fact, I believe this year is the first time I've seen the purple finch at my feeder. Thanks for tips!


#6 meghann

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:00 AM

The way I remember most, with the males at least, is the brown the descends from the eye. If it's lighter than the red, it's a house, if it's darker and makes the red look pale, then it's a purple.

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#7 JimBob

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:59 PM

The main way I tell them apart is how strikingly patterned Purple Finches are. There's much more of a pattern in Purples, then houses... At least in my experiment. When you see a purple finch it should be fairly easy to tell; It was for me the first time!

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#8 sailormom64

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:09 AM

The main way I tell them apart is how strikingly patterned Purple Finches are. There's much more of a pattern in Purples, then houses... At least in my experiment. When you see a purple finch it should be fairly easy to tell; It was for me the first time!

But...JimBob did you question every house finch til you finally saw a purple???

#9 JimBob

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:29 PM

But...JimBob did you question every house finch til you finally saw a purple???


Not really, I just saw a House Finch after House Finch, and then when I saw my first Purple, it was so different I knew right away it was a Purple. They're just so striking, Male of Female!

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#10 Melissa :)

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:42 AM

They way I tell them apart is by the colors of red on the head. On House Finches, it's one shade of red, but it can extend pretty far down the body. However, Purple Finches have a two-tone color, a raspberry red and a regular House Finch red.

Purple Finch
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House Finch
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The females are pretty easy to tell apart-- Purple Finch females have a white eyeline, more clumped-brown streaking on the chest, and white on the lower belly. House Finch females have an all-brown head with streaking all the way from chest to lower belly.

Purple Finch
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House Finch
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Hope this helps!! :)

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#11 sailormom64

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:07 AM

I have yet to see one, i keep looking though! Just today I saw a finch at the feeder, the lighting was bad and I could just make out the outline of the bird so I got closer to the window and took a picture, sure enough, just another house finch! Pretty house finch male, but still just a house finch!





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