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Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Cassin’s Finch (Carpodacus cassinii)
Male Purple Finches look "dipped in raspberry juice."

General Description: Purple Finches (Carpodacus purpureus) are little finches of the middle-elevation mountains. Males have dark red on the breast, entire head, and rump. They are said to have a "dipped in raspberry juice" appearance. Female Purple Finches are heavily streaked and have a bold eyeline. Purple finches also have unstreaked undertail coverts (feathers under the base of the tail), while House Finches and Cassin's Finches have streaked undertail coverts.

Taxonomy: Passeriformes, Fringillidae, Carduelinae.

Favored Habitat: Lower- and middle-elevation mountain forests.

Cassin’s Finch (Carpodacus cassinii)
Male lacks streaking on breast.

Where to Find: Mt. Charleston and other mountain areas.

Comments: The female finches are easier to identify then males, which can be hard to separate. There are three species of Carpodacus finches in the Las Vegas area: House Finches, Purple Finches, and Cassin's Finches. House Finches occur in the desert, Purple Finches occur in the middle-elevation mountains, and Cassin's Finches occur in higher-elevation mountains. The habitat of Purple Finches overlaps the other two, but female Purple Finches are easy to identify because they are heavily streaked and have a bold eyeline.

Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) This Purple Finch, photographed by Bob Wilkin in Victoria, BC, clearly shows the unstreaked undertail coverts. Other characteristics, such as the brighter color and a bit of streaking on the breast, differ from southern Nevada birds, but the undertail coverts are still nice and white.
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Female Purple Finches have heavy streaking and a bold eyeline
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Female Purple Finch in Kyle Canyon on Mt. Charleston
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Male and female Purple Finches on a seed feeder at Mt. Charleston
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Female Purple Finches on a seed feeder at Mt. Charleston
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)
Female Purple Finch at Mormon Well spring in the Sheep Range
more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120907

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