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American or Lesser Goldfinch?


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#1 snick

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:58 AM

I was helping my mom create her first lifelist, mostly from photos, and she was using this as her photo of an American Goldfinch. I think it's a male Lesser, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong for her. :)

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#2 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

That black on the forehead makes it a Lesser :) Tell your mom I'm sorry!

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#3 BigOly

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:48 AM

That black on the forehead makes it a Lesser :) Tell your mom I'm sorry!


BP; Does that mean this is a Lesser?
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#4 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:52 AM

That black on the forehead makes it a Lesser :) Tell your mom I'm sorry!


BP; Does that mean this is a Lesser?
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Nope, I was a little unclear there haha. The black on the forehead, coupled with the rest of the plumage (dull, non-breeding body, yellow throat and dull bill) makes it a Lesser. A black forehead alone is not diagnostic.

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#5 snick

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:54 AM

Thanks. In my heart I knew it was a lesser, but I wanted someone to tell me otherwise. :)

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#6 Bird Brain

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:02 AM

It would have made it easier to ID if more of it was showing in the photo, esp. its back, snick. The back of a Lesser is always dark compared to an American, which will have a yellow back. (This is comparing the males as shown)
There is enough to ID it as a Lesser, however. Yours has a dark stout beak...an American Goldfinch has a pinkish or yellow bill that isn't as stout. Also, a Lesser has a black "cap" covering its head, whereas an American has the black forehead as in the photo BigOly posted above.

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#7 BigOly

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:16 AM

another diagnostic feature is the very white undertail coverts of the AG. Hard to see in the OP's pic.

#8 cestma

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:26 AM

Also, a Lesser has a black "cap" covering its head, whereas an American has the black forehead as in the photo BigOly posted above.


Yes, which is what jumped out immediately at me for the ID here, and I'm sure what TBP was alluding to as well. :)
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