Lawrence’s Goldfinch

Lawrence's goldfinch
Credit: Aaron Maizlish

Lawrence’s Goldfinches are small, nomadic songbirds. The males are easily recognizable with a black vertical stripe from the front of their heads to their chins. Their body is mainly gray with yellow breasts, belly, wings, and back. Their wings are black with white tips. 

Females have similar patterns but are slightly paler gray in color. Juvenile males look like females, but they’re even duller in color. 

  • Spinus lawrencei
  • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.3 in (21 cm)


Lawrence’s Goldfinches breed in California and migrate a short distance east and south.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Lawrence’s Goldfinch in open oak woodlands and shrubby areas, especially if there’s a nearby water source. In the winter, you can find them among weedy fields, brushy areas, and near streams. 

Lawrence’s Goldfinch mostly eats seeds. They can even hang upside down from branches to reach them. There are times when they forage for food on the ground, and they will eat insects and buds. 

Lawrence’s Goldfinch Song:


Nests of Lawrence’s Goldfinches are made with grass, flower heads, and feathers high up in trees, where they spend most of their time. Expect around six eggs in a nest, with the female in charge of incubation for nearly two weeks. 

Once they hatch, the female takes care of the young for about two more weeks. Give it another week, and the young are ready to leave the nest.

Fun Fact:

Lawrence’s Goldfinches migrate from east to west instead of north to south, the opposite of other migratory birds.