American goldfinch

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American goldfinch
American goldfinch.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Passerimorphae
Order Passeriformes
Sub-order Passeri
Family Information
Superfamily Passeroidea
Family Fringillidae
Sub-family Fringillinae
Tribe Information
Tribe Carduelini
Genus Information
Genus Carduelis
Species Information
Species C. tristis
Population statistics

The American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) or wild canary is the abundant yellow bird in much of the United States and southern Canada, often seen in meadows and back yard bird feeders.


The American goldfinch is a small bird, smaller than a sparrow at 4.5 to 5 inches in length, with a wingspan of 8.75 to 9 inches. Males have bright yellow plumage during the breeding season, with a black forehead, black wings and tail; both wings and tail bear white edge marking. The winter plumage in the male is duller in coloration, as is the female plumage; in addition, the female does not bear a black forehead.

The bill is short, conical, and usually pink in color; it turns orange during the spring molt. The American goldfinch molts during spring and fall, the only member of its family to do so.

The striking yellow plumage is produced by carotenoid pigments such as leutin, zeoxanthin, and beta-carotene; the black plumage comes from the pigment eumelanin. All are derived from the bird’s diet of seeds.