The House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) is the common red finch with brown wings and a conical bill. House Finches were originally found only in the West, however the release of captive birds on Long Island in the 1940's led to a massive invasion of the rest of the country. House Finches are common feeder birds. Their warbling song, often with an ascending buzzy phrase near the end, is a familiar sound throughout the country commencing in late winter.See all House Finch photos
The House Finch has a reddish (occasionally orange or yellow) head and chest on males, brown-streaked white belly, thin wingbars, and an indistinct brownish line through the eye. The female is entirely brown-streaked.
The House Finch is found across most of the United States and the southern edge of eastern and western Canada. It also ranges south to southern Mexico.
Purple Finch   (species account)   (all photos)
The male Purple Finch is more raspberry-red than the "Chinese Red" of the House Finch, and it has a well-defined brown patch behind eye, a more peaked head and a clear white belly. The female Purple Finch has a dark patch behind the eye bordered by light areas above and below it.
Cassin's Finch   (all photos )
Male Cassin's Finch have a very distinct crimson cap and only fine streaking on the belly. Female Cassin's Finches have finer, more clearly defined streaks and a bolder facial pattern than House Finches. Cassin's Finches are only found in the West.
The House Finch nests mostly on the ground in dense deciduous thickets. Towhee populations, especially in the Northeast, have declined significantly since 1966, probably because of the combined impacts of habitat loss through urbanization and nest predation from cats and raccoons.
The House Finch has a distinctive habit of exposing insect and vegetable food hidden under leaf litter on the ground by using a two-stroke, forward-and-back, hop-and-scratch movement with both feet. The House Finch interbreeds with the Spotted Towhee, and the species classification is perennially debated.