Of the twenty species of finch found in Alaska, eight species are recognized as regularly occurring, plus an additional thirteen are accidental species. This guide will help you identify them with photos, song recordings, and when and where to spot them.
- Finches in Alaska all year: Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill
- Finches in Alaska in summer: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Hoary Redpoll
- Finches in Alaska in winter: Brambling
- Accidental finches in Alaska: Hawfinch, Purple Finch, Common Rosefinch, Cassin’s Finch, Evening Grosbeak, House Finch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Oriental Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Pallas’s Rosefinch, American Goldfinch, Asian Rosy-Finch
Finches are small to medium-sized songbirds with conical bills suitable for breaking seeds and nuts. They have round, compact bodies, notched tails, and relatively pointed wings.
Despite their size, they’re often easy to spot because of their bright yellow and red colors, mostly in males. Females are less colorful than males and blend into their surroundings, and are more green and brown in color.
There are 240 species of True Finches belonging to the Fringillidae family found worldwide, except for the polar regions. They are called ‘True Finches’ as birds from other families may also be called finches, but they are not officially finches. The finch family also includes redpolls, siskins and some grosbeaks.
Finches love to eat seeds, and they have strong bills that are perfect for cracking them open. However, insects are usually fed to their young because they still can’t crack seeds open on their own.
Finches are highly sociable birds that can often be heard before they are seen as they chatter away in their groups. They don’t necessarily all have a melodious song, but some certainly do, so check them out for yourself.
Nests of finches are simple constructions in trees and shrubs, made from twigs and other woven material and lined with softer material.
A group of Finches is called a “charm”. Maybe that’s also why many finches are caged birds because of their musical voice and their bright colors.
Finches are sadly in decline due to habitat loss, window collisions, pesticide use, and cats. Some are now on Red Lists, but you can help by keeping cats indoors, not using pesticides, and providing natural habitats.
If you want to attract Finches to your backyard, provide them with tube feeders filled with sunflower seeds, a water source that does not freeze, and a place for them to nest. You can also use these free bird ID charts for Alaska to help identify many of the birds that visit your backyard.
This guide will help you identify the types of finches spotted in Alaska according to avibase. The birds in this list are ordered by how frequently they are spotted, from most frequent to least frequent, according to bird watchers’ checklists submitted to ebird.
20 Species of Finches in Alaska:
1. Common Redpoll
Common Redpolls spend the breeding season in northern Alaska, but they are also spotted in the south of the state all year. They appear in 14% of summer checklists and 22% of winter checklists submitted by the bird watchers for the state.
Common Redpolls are small and have red foreheads and are brown and white streaked over the rest of their bodies. Males also have pink breasts, but females do not. They have small bills for finch and a short notched tail.
- Acanthis flammea
- Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
Common Redpolls breed in artic in Canada and spend the winter in the rest of Canada and northern US states and less frequently in central US states.
In winter, they will sometimes tunnel into the snow to stay warm during the night. They can eat up to 42% of their body mass every day and can store up to 2 grams of seeds in a stretchy park of their esophagus.
You can find Common Redpolls in weedy fields or feeding on catkins in trees, but they will also come to feeders for small seeds such as nyjer seeds or thistle.
Common Redpoll Song:
Nests of Common Redpolls are hidden in rock crevices or in dense, low shrubs. To keep the nests and the eggs warm, they are usually built out of moss, feathers, plant material, and animal hair. The female lays four to seven eggs that she incubates for about eleven days. Even after they hatch, the young still stay in the nest and are cared for by their mothers for two more weeks.
Attract Common Redpolls to your backyard by feeding them nyjer seeds and shelled sunflower seeds.
Fun Fact: Common Redpolls can survive temperatures of -65 Fahrenheit without freezing to death. They add around 30% more feathers to stay warm.
2. Pine Siskin
Pine Siskins are spotted during migration in western Alaska and during the breeding season in the east. However, some stay all year in the south of the state. They are recorded in 8% of summer checklists and 11% of winter checklists for the state.
Pine Siskins are small brown finches with yellow streaks on the wing and tail. They have a forked tail and pointed wings, with a short pointed bill.
- Spinus Pinus
- Length: 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz (12-18 g)
- Wingspan: 7.1-8.7 in (18-22 cm)
Pine Siskins remain all year in the pine forests in the western states and along the Canadian Border. Some also breed in Canada before heading south for winter.
Depending on pine cone crops, they can be found over much of North America. As their name suggests, Pine Siskins predominantly eat seeds from conifers, but they also eat young buds and seeds from grasses and weeds.
Pine Siskin Song:
Nests of Pine Siskins are built ten to fifty feet high above the ground, away from the tree trunk. They are usually made of twigs, barks, and moss and are home to three to five eggs. It takes about thirteen days for the eggs to hatch.
Attract Pine Siskins to your backyards with thistle and nyjer feeders but also black oil sunflower seeds and suet.
Fun Fact: The name “Siskin” comes from the Pine Siskin’s chirp. So, it’s basically a “pine chirper.”
3. Pine Grosbeak
Pine Grosbeaks breed in northern Alaska, but they are mainly seen all year in the south of the state. They appear in 2% of summer checklists and 16% of winter checklists for the state. Although they occur in more checklists in winter, this is due to the lack of other birds in winter.
Pine Grosbeaks males are red birds with gray on the wings and tail and two white wingbars. Females are gray with dull orange heads and rumps. They are large for finches and relatively slow.
- Pinicola enucleator
- Length: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
- Weight: 2.01 oz (57 g)
- Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)
Pine Grosbeaks are mostly found in Canada, but some can be spotted along the US border, the mountainous west, and the Sierra Nevada in California.
You can find Pine Grosbeaks in forests of pine, spruce, and fir, feeding on seeds, fruit, and buds from these trees. They will also eat some insects in the summer.
Pine Grosbeak Call:
Nests of Pine Grosbeaks are commonly found ten to twelve feet above the ground on a low tree. The nests are made of twigs, barks, weeds, moss, and lichen and hold two to five eggs. The female incubates these eggs for about two weeks until they hatch.
Attract Pine Grosbeaks to your backyards with black oil sunflower seed feeders or suet feeders.
Fun Fact: Pine Grosbeaks are aptly named. Their scientific name, “Pinicola,” is Latin for “pine dweller.”
4. White-winged Crossbill
White-winged Crossbills are spotted in Alaska all year. They are spotted in 3% of summer and 6% of winter checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.
White-winged Crossbills are finches with heavy crossed beaks. Males are red birds with black wings and tails and two white wingbars. Females are yellow and brown and with two white wing bars.
- Loxia leucoptera
- Length: 5.9-6.7 in (15-17 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-0.9 oz (24-26 g)
- Wingspan: 10.2-11.0 in (26-28 cm)
White-winged Crossbills live in forests in Canada, Alaska, and sometimes the northern US states when cone crops are poor further north.
You can find White-winged crossbills in spruce forests feeding on seeds.
White-winged Crossbill Song:
Nests of White-winged Crossbills are nestled in horizontal tree branches. They are made of twigs, bark, grass, moss, and lichens. There are as many as five eggs in a nest, with the female incubating them for two weeks until they hatch.
Fun Fact: Unusually, these birds breed at any time of year as long as there is enough food. They can often be heard in large flocks.
5. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches are more often spotted in Alaska during the breeding season, but some remain here all year. They appear in 3% of summer checklists and 2% of winter checklists for the state.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches are medium-sized, chunky birds. Adults are identifiable by their black forehead and throat, gray crown, and brown body with pink highlights in their bellies.
In winter, their bill is yellow, then turns black during the breeding season. Juveniles are brown with none of the pink highlights.
- Leucosticte tephrocotis
- Length: 5.5-8.3 in (14-21 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-2.1 oz (22-60 g)
- Wingspan: 13.0 in (33 cm)
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch breed in Alaska and western Canada before migrating to western US states in winter.
You can find Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch in alpine snowfields, barren tundra, and on rocky islands in summer. In winter, they descend into open plains, valleys, and towns, especially when there are bird feeders.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch forage for worms and insects that are frozen in snowfields, glaciers, and meadows during the summer. In the winter, they eat mustard and sunflower seeds and weeds.
Gray-crowned Rosy-finch Call:
Nests of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch are usually found hidden away in crevices between boulders and cliffs, under a rock, or even in mine shafts and holes in abandoned buildings.
Their nests are made from grass, roots, moss, and sedge and lined with fine grass, animal hair, and feathers. The female usually lays around four eggs which hatch after two weeks, and the young are ready to leave the nest after another two weeks.
Attract Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches to your backyard by feeding them black oil sunflower seeds. You can scatter the seeds on the ground or platform feeders.
Fun Fact: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches will probably win the award for “Highest Altitude Breeding Bird in North America” since they nest on the slopes of Denali, known for being the continent’s highest peak.
6. Hoary Redpoll
Hoary Redpolls spend the breeding season in northern Alaska, and they can also be spotted in the south of the state during winter. They occur in 3% of summer checklists and 1% of winter checklists.
Hoary Redpolls are small and hardy birds. Adults are generally white and have a red patch on their foreheads. Adult males have a pinkish chest while adult females don’t.
Females do have more streaks on their bellies compared to males. Juveniles look entirely different, having no red patch on their forehead and are mostly gray with a lot of streaking on their body.
- Acanthis hornemanni
- Length: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan: 8.5-9.25 in (22-23 cm)
Hoary Redpolls breed in the arctic and move short distances south in winter.
You can find Hoary Redpolls in sheltered tundra birch forests and open subarctic evergreen forests in the summer. Winters bring them closer to towns and villages, in open woodland, scrub, and weedy fields. They feed on seeds of alder and birch trees and on insects.
Hoary Redpoll Song:
Nests of Hoary Redpoll are hidden in the hollows of trees, crevices of rocky areas, and within dense shrubs. The nest is made from twigs, grass, and rootlets and cushioned with soft grass feathers and animal hair. They lay around five eggs which take around ten days to hatch. The young leave the nest in about two weeks.
Fun Fact: If the temperature in their environment becomes too warm, Hoary Redpoll may pluck out some of its body feathers. Don’t worry, they grow back.
7. Red Crossbill
Red Crossbills can be spotted in Alaska all year. They are recorded in around 2% of checklists submitted by bird watchers for the state.
Red Crossbill males are red birds with darker wings and tails. Females are yellow and brown. Their beaks are an unusual twisted shape that crosses when closed. They have notched tails. Juveniles are browner in color.
- Loxia curvirostra
- Length: 5.5-6.5 in (14-17 cm)
- Weight: 1.4 oz (40 g)
- Wingspan: 10-10.75 in (25-27 cm)
Red Crossbills live year-round in northern and western states and winter in eastern states if cone crops are poor.
You can find Red Crossbills mainly in coniferous forests but also along roadsides consuming grit in the mornings. They feed on conifer seeds and forage in flocks from tree to tree, even breaking unopened cones with their powerful beaks.
Red Crossbill Song:
Nests of Red Crossbills are found near the end of a pine tree. They are shallow saucers made of bark, grass, and roots and lined with moss and plants. The female lays three to four eggs that take as long as eighteen days to hatch.
Attract Red Crossbills to your backyards with Safflower, Apple Slices, Suet, Millet, Peanut Kernels, and fruits.
Fun Fact: Red Crossbills have different types of beaks and utter different flight calls. Birds with the same type of crossbill flock together and recognize each other’s flight calls.
Bramblings are not very common in Alaska, but they have mainly been spotted in the south of the state in winter from September to February.
Bramblings are small birds with black heads and orange throats and chests. They have black wings with some white and orange bars. Their bellies are white. Females are less distinct and share the same patterns as juveniles except that their head is orange.
- Fringilla montifringilla
- Length: 6.3 in (16 cm)
- Weight: 0.81-1.02 oz (23-29 g)
- Wingspan: 9.8-10.2 in (25–26 cm)
Bramblings are usually found in northern Europe, Africa, and Asia, but they also wander into Alaska, occasionally Canada, and northern US states during migration.
You can find Bramblings in birch tree woods, willow forests, agricultural fields, parks, and backyards. They feed on insects in the summer and eat seeds during the winter.
Nests of Bramblings are usually up in a tree, secured in a forked tree branch. Females build the nest using grass, birch bark, and moss and strengthen it with spider webs, wool, and down feathers. There may be up to seven eggs at a time, and they take almost two weeks to hatch.
Fun Fact: In winter, bramblings form flocks in the thousands, maybe even millions, but only in their usual winter regions.
Although considered accidental species, Hawfinches have been spotted in Alaska, mostly in the south of the state, around Anchorage.
Hawfinches are stocky birds with large, conical beaks. Male hawfinches have large orange heads, black shading around their eyes and throats, and light orange on their chest. Their wings are brown with white stripes and blue tips. Females are paler but have the same coloring.
- Coccothraustes coccothraustes
- Length: 7.1 in (18 cm)
- Weight: 1.6–2.5 oz (46–70 g)
- Wingspan: 11-13 in (29-33 cm)
You can find Hawfinches in forests with large, tall trees like oak, beech, birch, maple, and pine. In autumn and winter, they prefer wooded areas with fruit-bearing trees like cherry and plum. They may also visit parks and backyards.
Hawfinches will mostly eat seeds, buds, and fruits. Their beak is perfect for reaching inside and cracking the seeds of cherries and plums. Occasionally, they may eat caterpillars, beetles, and other insects.
Nests of Hawfinches are usually located high up in branches, easily accessible by air. They are made with twigs and lined with roots and grass. The female lays around five eggs that hatch within two weeks, and it takes about a month for the young to become independent.
Fun Fact: Hawfinches first breed when they are only one year old.
10. Purple Finch
Purple Finches are considered rare or accidental species in Alaska, but they have been spotted in the state in recent years.
Purple Finches males have reddish-purple heads and breasts with more brown on the back and wings, and they have a paler belly. Females are brown-streaked all over. They look very similar to House Finch but are redder, especially at the top of their back.
- Haemorhous purpureus
- Length: 4.7-6.3 in (12-16 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-1.1 oz (18-32 g)
- Wingspan: 8.7-10.2 in (22-26 cm)
Purple Finches breed in Canada and overwinter in eastern states but can be found all year in the north-east and Pacific coast.
You can find Purple Finch in evergreen forests feeding on seeds but also buds, nectar, and berries.
Purple Finch Song:
Nests of Purple Finches are located high up in trees. They are made of twigs, barks, weeds, and moss. They usually hold three to five eggs that are incubated for thirteen days by the female.
Attract Purple Finches to your backyards with black oil sunflower seeds.
Fun Fact: Purple Finches are the state bird of New Hampshire.
11. Common Rosefinch
Common Rosefinches are rare or accidental species in Alaska, and they have been spotted mainly around the southern islands.
Common Rosefinch males are bright red on the head, breast, and rump and brown with hints of red over the rest of the body.
- Carpodacus erythrinus
- Length: 5.8 in (15 cm)
- Weight: 0.8 oz (23 g)
- Wingspan: 9.5 in (24 cm)
Common Rosefinches are rarely seen in North America as they are usually from Europe and Asia. However, they have been seen mainly in the western edge of Alaska in summer.
Common Rosefinch Song:
Nests of Common Rosefinches are often made of grass, weeds, roots, and animal hair. You will find them low to the ground. Females usually lay between three to six eggs, and they take about two weeks to hatch.
Attract Common Rosefinches to your backyards by offering seeds, peanuts, and fruit.
Fun Fact: Common Rosefinches are also known as Scarlet Rosefinches because of their reddish color.
12. Cassin’s Finch
Cassin’s Finches are considered rare or accidental species in Alaska but there have been a couple of recorded sightings around the Kenai Peninsula in 2020.
Cassin’s Finch males have a red crown, rosy pink head, and red-breasted with a whiteish belly and brown back and wings. Females and juveniles are brown-streaked all over.
- Haemorhous cassinii
- Length: 6.3 in (16 cm)
- Weight: 0.8-1.2 oz (24-34 g)
- Wingspan: 9.8-10.6 in (25-27 cm)
Cassin’s Finches live all year in mountain forests in western US states and into southwestern Canada. Some migrate into northern Mexico in winter.
You can find Cassin’s Finches foraging in flocks for seeds in conifer forests. They also eat quaking aspen buds, berries, and other fruit, and some insects such as moths.
Nests of Cassin’s Finches are usually built on pine or similar trees. The nests are cup-like and made of twigs, barks, reeds, and rootlets. A nest can hold four to six eggs which are incubated by the female for about two weeks.
Attract Cassin’s Finches to your backyards with sunflower seed feeders, especially in winter, or fruiting shrubs such as cotoneaster, mulberries, firethorn, grape, and apple.
Fun Fact: The male Cassin’s Finch may confuse you. During its first breeding season, it retains its female-like feather coloring and sings, giving you the impression that females also sing.
13. Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeaks are vulnerable and accidental species in Alaska, and they were last spotted around Matanuska-Susitna in 2018.
Evening Grosbeaks are chunky birds with big bills and a striking yellow and black pattern. Adult males have a bright yellow stripe over their eyes, making them look fierce. Their heads are black, with gray necks, and their chest and belly are yellow. They also have a white patch on their wings.
Females and juvenile males have greenish bills, mostly gray bodies, black and white wings, and a yellow tinge to the neck.
- Hesperiphona vespertina
- Length: 16 to 22 cm (6.3 to 8.7 in)
- Weight: 38.7 to 86.1 g (1.37 to 3.04 oz)
- Wingspan: 30 to 36 cm (12 to 14 in)
Evening Grosbeaks remain all year in southern Canada and down the west coast to northern California. However, when cone crops are poor, they will migrate south to most US states.
You can find Evening Grosbeaks in forests and mountain regions. During the winter, they’re often attracted to bird feeders in backyards, most often because it’s an easy food supply.
Evening Grosbeaks naturally feed on flower buds during spring; insect larvae from treetops during the summer; and in the winter, they flock to backyard feeders or feast on seeds, berries, and small fruit.
Evening Grosbeak Song:
Nests of Evening Grosbeaks are usually found up to 100 feet above ground in pine trees. The nests are loosely made, composed of twigs, rootlets, grass, moss, and pine needles. There are usually up to five eggs laid by the female, and she incubates them for two weeks until they hatch.
Attract Evening Grosbeaks to your backyard during winter with sunflower seeds, berries, and maple buds.
Fun Fact: Evening Grosbeaks have such powerful bills that they can crush seeds that are too hard to open for other smaller birds, so these birds hang around to eat whatever is left behind.
14. House Finch
House Finches are considered accidental species in Alaska, but there have been a few recent sightings around Delta Junction in 2021.
House Finch males have a red head and breast, and the rest of their bodies are mainly brown-streaked. Females are brown-streaked all over.
- Haemorhous mexicanus
- Length: 5.1-5.5 in (13-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.6-0.9 oz (16-27 g)
- Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm)
Originally only in western US states, House Finches were introduced to eastern US states and have done very well, even pushing out the Purple Finch.
You can find House Finches in parks, farms, forest edges, and backyard feeders in noisy groups that are hard to miss. They feed on seeds, fruit, and buds.
House Finch Song:
House Finch Call:
Nests of House Finches are commonly found in thickets, bushes, natural, hollow cavities, or even in buildings. The female builds them using grass, leaves, twigs, and feathers. There can be two to six eggs at a time that take as much as two weeks to hatch.
Attract House Finches to backyard feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, millet, and milo or nyjer seeds in tube feeders or platform feeders.
Fun Fact: House Finches were brought to Long Island as caged birds. When they were released into the wild, they flourished and spread to the eastern United States.
15. Eurasian Bullfinch
Eurasian Bullfinches are considered accidental species in Alaska but they have been spotted in Unalaska townsite in 2021.
Both male and female Eurasian Bullfinches have distinctive black caps and beaks, gray backs, and black wings with white stripes. Males have bright red cheeks, breasts and bellies, and white bottoms. Females are usually gray or lighter-colored.
- Pyrrhula pyrrhula
- Length: 6.5 in (17 cm)
- Weight: 0.8 oz. (23 g)
- Wingspan: 10 in (25 cm)
Eurasian Bullfinches usually live in Europe and Asia, but they occasionally arrive in Alaska and northwestern Canada.
You can find Eurasian Bullfinches in backyards and parks, hedges, orchards, farms and fields, and scrub with scattered trees. They feed on seeds and buds of fruit trees. If left unchecked, they can finish off fruit harvests in orchards.
Eurasian Bullfinch Call/Song:
Nests of Eurasian Bullfinches are often found in bushes or branches of trees. They are composed of twigs, moss, roots, and animal hair. The female lays around four to seven eggs that hatch within two weeks.
Fun Fact: Eurasian Bullfinches are simply known as “Bullfinch” since they are the first birds to bear that name.
16. Oriental Greenfinch
Oriental Greenfinches are considered accidental species in Alaska, but they were spotted around Tokeen Cove in 2021.
Oriental Greenfinches are sometimes called Gray-capped Greenfinch because of the gray color of the top of their heads. Males’ bodies and faces are mostly olive green, their shoulders and back are shades of brown, while their bellies may be yellowish to light-brown.
Females are browner and lighter in color. Juveniles are even lighter-colored than females and have streaks on their chests and bellies.
- Chloris Sinica
- Length: 12.5 to 14 cm (4.9 to 5.5 in.)
- Weight: 1.1 oz (31 g.)
- Wingspan: 23.4 cm (9.25 in)
Oriental Greenfinches are usually found in Asia but occasionally turn up in Alaska.
You can find Oriental Greenfinches around forests during summer. In winter, they spread out in shrubs and suburban parks and gardens. They mainly eat seeds and grains. However, during summer, they also feast on insects and spiders.
Oriental Greenfinches song:
Nests of Oriental Greenfinches are found in trees or hidden in a bush. They are made of moss and lined with soft grass on the inside. The female lays up to five eggs. It takes about two weeks before they hatch.
17. Eurasian Siskin
Eurasian Siskins are considered accidental species in Alaska, and the last recorded sightings were around Unalaska back in 2015.
Male Eurasian siskins have a black cap on their heads and a black chin patch. Their face, breast, and the rest of the body are greenish-yellow. Their wings are black with distinct yellow wing bars. There are also yellow parts on both sides of their tail. Females and juveniles are yellowish with streaky lines.
- Spinus spinus
- Length: 5 inches (12.7 cm)
- Weight: 0.5 oz (14.2 g)
- Wingspan: 9 inches (22.9 cm)
Eurasian siskins are usually found in Europe and Asia, but they occasionally stray into Alaska and the northeast coast of the United States and Canada.
You can find Eurasian siskins in woodlands and forests. They are known to have unpredictable migratory patterns, seemingly going where there are plenty of seeds.
Eurasian siskins’ favorite food are seeds, especially alder and birch catkins. They prefer to eat in trees instead of on the ground. In spring, they feed in coniferous forests, eating seeds from elms and poplars. In summer, they add herbs like goosefoots and Compositae.
In autumn and winter, they join other finches in eating seeds from deciduous trees like birch and herbaceous plants like meadowsweet.
Eurasian Siskin Song:
Nests of the Eurasian siskin are safely hidden on a high branch of a conifer tree. Breeding pairs usually form colonies together with their nests close to each other. Nests are small and bowl-shaped, made out of twigs, grass, moss, and lichen, and it is softened with down feathers.
The females lay two to six eggs. It takes 10 to 14 days of incubation, and they leave the nests after fifteen days.
Fun Fact: In St. Petersburg, you will find a statue of a siskin because its colors are similar to the uniform of students from an elite school in the city. The students themselves bear the nickname, siskins.
18. Pallas’s Rosefinch
Pallas’s Rosefinches are accidental species in Alaska and they have only been spotted on St. Paul Island back in 2015.
Pallas’s Rosefinch males have red heads and breasts with some streaking. Their back and tail have reddish-brown tones. They also have a white patch on their forehead and chin. Females are generally grayish-brown with streaking on their head, breast, and belly.
- Carpodacus roseus
- Length: 6 – 7 inches (16 – 17.5 cm.)
- Weight: 0.7 – 1.2 oz. (21 – 35 g)
- Wingspan: 8.5 – 9 inches
Pallas’s Rosefinches are usually found in Asia, but they occasionally turn up in Alaska. You can find Pallas’s Rosefinches in boreal forests and boreal shrubland.
Pallas’s Rosefinches call:
Pallas’s Rosefinch diet consists of seeds, buds, shoots, and berries. During the summer breeding season, they eat insects for their protein content.
Fun Fact: Pallas’s Rosefinch are often kept as cage birds in Europe and Asia.
19. American Goldfinch
American Goldfinches are accidental species in Alaska, and although they are extremely rare to find in the state, they were spotted around Ketchikan in 2022.
American Goldfinches are popular birds. The males have bright yellow and black coloring in spring. The females are duller brown, as are males in winter.
- Spinus tristis
- Length: 4.3-5.1 in (11-13 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
American Goldfinches can be found in most of North America and are usually resident all year. However, those that breed in Canada and the Midwest migrate to the southern US States for winter.
You can find American Goldfinch in weedy fields and overgrown areas foraging for sunflower, thistle, and aster plants. They are also common in suburbs, parks, and backyards.
American Goldfinch Song:
Nests of American Goldfinches are usually located in saplings or shrubs. They are made of grass, bark strips, and feathers on which the female lays four to six eggs. It takes ten to twelve days for the eggs to hatch, and while the male feeds the female, she incubates the eggs.
Attract American Goldfinches to your backyard by planting thistles and milkweed. They will visit most bird feeders and prefer sunflower seed and nyjer seed.
Fun Fact: Brown-headed Cowbirds are known for laying eggs in an American Goldfinch nest, but unfortunately, the seed-based diet that the parents feed them is unsuitable for them, and they eventually die.
20. Asian Rosy-Finch
Asian Rosy-Finches are extremely rare in Alaska, and they are considered accidental species. In fact, they have only been spotted in the state back in 2011.
Asian Rosy-Finches have a black face and throat, while the rest of the head is dark brown or gray. They have a yellow bill, pinkish-dark brown chest, belly, and wings.
Females don’t have the pink color on their bodies and are usually lighter than males on the face and throat.
- Leucosticte arctoa
- Length: 6-7 in (15-16 cm)
- Wingspan: 12.5-14 in (32-35 cm)
Asian Rosy-Finches are usually found in Asia. However, they do occasionally stray into North America.
You can find Asian Rosy-Finches in high mountains and meadows, particularly if they have rocky slopes, barren rock, and cliffs. If they’re in a coastal area, they may be found on bare rocky beaches.
Asian Rosy-Finches love to eat seeds that they forage on the ground. They also favor berries, fresh buds, and young plants. Insects are on the menu during summer.
Asian-Rosy Finch Call:
Nests of Asian Rosy-Finches are rarely observed as the species is little known. There is not much data about them.
Fun Fact: The Asian Rosy-Finch was first sighted in North America in December 2011, and it was only then that it was added to the American Birding Association’s checklist of birds.
How Frequently Finches are Spotted in Alaska in Summer and Winter
Checklists are a great resource to find out which birds are commonly spotted. These lists show which Finches are most frequently recorded on checklists on ebird in summer and winter.
Finches in Alaska in Summer:
Common Redpoll 14.0%
Pine Siskin 8.7%
White-winged Crossbill 3.6%
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 3.2%
Hoary Redpoll 3.0%
Pine Grosbeak 2.2%
Red Crossbill 1.6%
Common Rosefinch <0.1%
House Finch <0.1%
Eurasian Bullfinch <0.1%
Purple Finch <0.1%
Oriental Greenfinch <0.1%
Evening Grosbeak <0.1%
American Goldfinch <0.1%
Cassin’s Finch <0.1%
Eurasian Siskin <0.1%
Finches in Alaska in Winter:
Common Redpoll 22.2%
Pine Grosbeak 16.1%
Pine Siskin 11.4%
White-winged Crossbill 6.4%
Red Crossbill 3.2%
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 2.2%
Hoary Redpoll 1.2%
Purple Finch 0.3%
Cassin’s Finch 0.1%
Evening Grosbeak 0.1%
American Goldfinch <0.1%
Eurasian Bullfinch <0.1%
Asian Rosy-Finch <0.1%