Lesser Goldfinch (23)
The Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria), or Dark-backed Goldfinch, is a songbird of the Americas. Its range is from the southwestern United States (along the coast, as far north as southern Washington) to Venezuela and Peru. It migrates from the northern parts of its range. It utilizes most habitats almost any habitat with trees or shrubs except for dense forest. It is common and distinct in most areas, and will come near houses to feed at feeders in the southwest U.S. and almost anywhere else for thistle sock feeders.
The Lesser Goldfinch is 4 to 4.5 inches long and weighs only about 9.5 grams (0.3 ounces). It is the smallest North American Carduelis species. Southern species tend to be a bit larger and is more pronounced in the females. Males are easily recognized by their bright yellow underparts and big white patches in the tail and on the wings.
The upperparts on females and young are more or less grayish olive-green, their underparts are yellowish, browner in immatures. They have only a narrow strip of white on the wings (with other white markings in some forms) and little or no white on the tail. They are best distinguished from other members of the genus by the combination of small size, upperparts without white or yellow, and dark gray bill. In all plumages this bird can easily be taken for a New World warbler if the typical finch bill isn't seen well.