Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)


Taxonomy

French: Roselin familier German: Hausgimpel Spanish: Camachuelo mexicano
Taxonomy:

Fringilla mexicana

Statius Müller

, 1776,

Valley of Mexico, Mexico

.

Geographical variation complex, and considerable variation in body size, bill size and shape, and wing, tail and tarsus lengths; also, degree of saturation of red in male plumage (largely derived from access to carotenoid pigments in food) highly variable both within and among populations (in parts of Hawaiian Is, where introduced, males lack red); in addition, some populations poorly known and range of variation undescribed. Large races †mcgregori and amplus sometimes considered to represent one or perhaps two separate species. Conversely, in SW USA, proposed races grinnelli (described from Scott R, NW of Callahan, in California), solitudinus (Fallon, in Nevada), smithi (near Aurora, in NC Colorado) and anconophila (Chinati Mts, Presidio County, in SW Texas) all commonly synonymized with frontalis. Race rhodopnus has been subsumed into sonoriensis, and proposed race altitudinis (Chihuahua–Sinaloa state border) is here synonymized with sonoriensis. Present division of races, based on male plumage and morphological features, may not be sustainable, and entire range of variation within the species requires further research. Twelve extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. m. frontalis (Say, 1822) – #RSW & S Canada (Vancouver I, S British Columbia and S Alberta E, just N of USA border, to SE Ontario and E to S Nova Scotia), USA and NW Mexico; significant range expansion in last decades both in W (native) and E (introduced) populations.
  • H. m. clementis (Mearns, 1898) – San Clemente I (off SW California) and Los Coronados Is (off extreme NW Baja California).
  • H. m. amplus (Ridgway, 1876) – Guadalupe I (off W Baja California).
  • H. m. mcgregori (Anthony, 1897) – Benito Is and perhaps Cedros I (off Baja California).
  • H. m. ruberrimus (Ridgway, 1887) – S Baja California, in NW Mexico.
  • H. m. sonoriensis (Ridgway, 1901) – NW Mexico (S Sonora, SW Chihuahua and N Sinaloa).
  • H. m. rhodopnus (R. T. Moore, 1936) – NW Mexico (C Sinaloa).
  • H. m. coccineus (R. T. Moore, 1939) – SW Mexico (S Nayarit to W Michoacán).
  • H. m. potosinus (Griscom, 1928) – NC Mexico (C Chihuahua to SE Tamaulipas).
  • H. m. centralis (R. T. Moore, 1937) – C Mexico (Guanajuato, Querétaro).
  • H. m. mexicanus (Statius Müller, 1776) – SC Mexico (E Michoacán to Puebla, Morelos and N Oaxaca).
  • H. m. griscomi (R. T. Moore, 1939) – SC Mexico (Guerrero).
  • H. m. roseipectus (Sharpe, 1888) – S Mexico (Oaxaca Valley).
  • Introduced (frontalis) to E North America and (nominate) Hawaiian Is; also to Chiapas, S Mexico.

    Descriptive notes

    12·5–15 cm; 17·5–27 g (various races), 15·7–22·5 g (griscomi). Relatively small rosefinch with fairly long, notched... read more

    Voice

    Song, throughout year (except during moult, from late Jul to Oct), mostly in early morning and... read more

    Habitat

    Semi-dry open brush, canyons and scattered woodlands, edges of dry desert and semi-desert... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly vegetable matter, mostly plant seeds, buds and fruit; also small numbers of insects. Seeds and flowers principally those of napa... read more

    Breeding

    Season mid-Mar to early Aug, also once in mid-winter in California; up to three broods (up to five replacement clutches laid). Monogamous,... read more

    Movements

    Resident, migratory and dispersive. Prior to 1945 those in W of range present in breeding area only... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant in North America; common in Mexico. North American population currently estimated at c. 21,000,000 birds; natural range... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2018). House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/61389 on 12 December 2018).