The Goldfinch: Male or Female?

My friend Lynne, like me, is very enthusiastic about photography. After setting up bird feeders in her garden, she had lots of visits from the local starlings.

So she was absolutely thrilled when 4 goldfinches turned up in her garden. I was very impressed with her photos, and with her permission, I have included them in this post to show the very subtle differences between male and female goldfinches.


Both goldfinches have a large red patch on their face.

In the male, the red patch extends clearly behind the eye…

Male Goldfinch

Male Goldfinch

In the female, the red patch ends just before the eye as you can see here…

Female Goldfinch

Female Goldfinch


These are very subtle differences and can be difficult to see when birds are far away or are in flight.



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