Carpodacus mexicanus (house finch)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Principal Source
- Distribution Maps
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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Carpodacus mexicanus (Statius Muller, 1776)
Preferred Common Name
- house finch
International Common Names
- Spanish: pinzon mexicano
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Carpodacus mexicanus (house finch) is native to the western United States and Mexico. In 1940, wild birds illegally sold as "Hollywood Finches" in New York were released by dealers anxious to avoid prosecution, and populations now exist throughout eastern North America. In many areas, house finches are not considered a nuisance and are appreciated for their musical song and bright colours. However, they are highly adaptable to urban and suburban environments as they peck and feed on practically all deciduous fruits, berries, grains and seed. Consequently, large populations have become a nuisance, even in their native range, where they have caused economic losses in agricultural areas.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Fringillidae
- Genus: Carpodacus
- Species: Carpodacus mexicanus
DescriptionTop of page
Carpodacus mexicanus are about the same size as house sparrows. Males are brownish with a bright red breast, forehead, rump and stripe over the eye. They also have narrow dark stripes on the flanks and belly. Females are sparrow-like, with a plain head, streaked underparts and no eye stripe. House finches have a warbling song, frequently ending in harsh, nasal notes. Their chirp is similar to that of a house sparrow (Clark, J., Hygnstrom, S. 1994).
DistributionTop of page
Native range: Carpodacus mexicanus (house finches) are native to the western United States and Mexico.
Known introduced range: Carpodacus mexicanus (house finches) now occur in the western and eastern United States all year, but are absent from the Great Plains area. Introduced populations in eastern North America occur throughout the southeast in winter and in the northern areas during the breeding season (Pappas, 2002).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
HabitatTop of page
In the eastern United States, Carpodacus mexicanus (house finches) are highly adaptable to urban and suburban environments. They are especially invasive in agricultural areas. House finches are also found in open desert and desert grassland, chaparral, oak savannah, riparian areas and open coniferous forests in the western United States (Pappas, 2002). House finches nest on ledges, on branches of trees, shrubs and cactus and in holes in trees or wall (InfoNatura, 2004).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Deserts||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Introduction pathways to new locations
Other: In 1940, wild house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) illegally sold in New York as "Hollywood Finches" were released by dealers anxious to avoid prosecution (Pappas, 2002).
Local dispersal methods
Agriculture (local):Clark and Hygnstrom (1994) indicates that the house finch population and range expansion is aided by the presence of crop fields.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Negatively impacts agriculture
Uses ListTop of page
- Pet/aquarium trade
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Gough et al. (1998) describes how the male purple finch C. purpureus is similar in appearance to the House Finch C. mexicanus but lacks brown streaks on the breast and belly, has a more purple head, shorter forked tail, and different call notes.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
BibliographyTop of page
Allen, R. Brittingham, M. 1997. House Finch Conjuctivitis. Pennsylvania Wildlife Series.
Clark, Jerry P. and Scott E. Hygnstrom., 2005. House Finch (Linnets) http://icwdm.org/handbook/birds/HouseFinches.asp
CWBO (Chipper Woods Bird Observatory). 2003. House Finch. Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. http://www.wbu.com/chipperwoods/photos/housefinch.htm
Gough, G.A., Sauer, J.R., Iliff, M. Patuxent Bird Identification Infocenter. 1998. Version 97.1. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/i5190id.html
InfoNatura, 2004. Carpodacus mexicanus. House Finch. http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura/servlet/InfoNatura?searchSciOrCommonName=carpodacus
Pappas, J. 2002. Carpodacus mexicanus (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/carpodacus/c._mexicanus$narrative.html
Tallman, D. 1997. House Finch. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.
ReferencesTop of page
CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), 2011. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). In: Global Invasive Species Database (GISD), Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland. http://www.issg.org/database
ContributorsTop of page
Reviewed by: Kevin P. B. Oh. Graduate Student. Dr. Badyaev's Lab Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona Tucson, USA.
Principal sources:Pappas, J. 2002. Carpodacus mexicanus (On-line), Animal Diversity Web.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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