Lawrence’s Goldfinch

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Spinus lawrencei

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

The Lawrence's Goldfinch is a small songbird of erratic distribution that breeds in California and Baja California and winters in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Its name commemorates the American ornithologist Georges Newbold Lawrence.

The breeding plumage of adult males are grayish upperparts with often tinged olive-green back, turning bright yellow-green on the rump. Wings are black with bright yellow wing bars. Outer webs of flight feathers are edged yellow, forming a yellow patch on black wings. The tail is black with white patches on inner webs of tail feathers.
Underparts are bright yellow on the chest and upper belly. Sides, flanks, lower belly and vent are pale grayish. Undertail feathers are white.
Head shows a black face, with black chin, throat, forehead, lores and crown. Cheeks are pale buffy-gray. Conical bill is pink to greyish-flesh. Eyes are black. Legs and feet are dark.


The winter plumage of adult males is duller, with browner nape and back, and less yellow on chest than in breeding plumage.

Females have entirely gray-brown head, and lack the black face. Yellow areas are duller and white patches on tail are less extensive than in male.

Juveniles are similar to females but with duller colors. Wing bars are buff and upperparts often with indistinct dusky streaks. They have reduced or absent yellow on chest.

They are about 4.75 inches long and weigh about 11 grams.

CALL: A bell-like “tink-ul”, often given in flight. They also give a high, thin “dee”, a dry “dri-i- iit”, a quiet, nasal “wheeh” and a rougher “rrehr”.

SONGS: Song is varied. It is a pleasant tinkling and twittering warbler, often prolonged. They may include mimicries to its song.

They feed mainly on seeds of annual plants. In winter, food varies according to the region. They consume salt regularly, and they need water.

Breeds in arid and open woodlands, often near water and bushy areas; also in chaparral, coastal scrubs, and rural residential areas near weedy fields and water sources.

Winters in similar habitat, but as in migration, in more open areas such as floodplains, pastures and lowlands with abundant seeds.

Breeds in Central Valley and coastal foothills of California, and in the northern part of Baja California.

Winter range is in southern Arizona, Southwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico.

The female builds a cup-shaped nest with fine fresh leaves and stems of grasses. It is lined with fine plant fibers, plant down, feathers, hair, fur, flowers.
They often decorate it with lichen, often used as primary material if abundant.
The female lays one egg per day, until 3 - 6 smooth white eggs.
Incubation lasts about 12 - 13 days, by female.
She is fed by the male, and she takes only briefs flights away.

Lawrence’s Goldfinch Infographic


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