Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2021-15

Common name:

Purple Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhouus purpureus
Date: 9 Mar 2021
Time: 9:55 AM
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Yard in Provo
County: Utah
Elevation: ~4835 ft.
Distance to bird: 12 to 25 ft
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars
Weather: cloudy, about 40 degrees
Light Conditions: overcast, but fairly light
Description:        Size of bird: medium sized finch
(Description:)       Basic Shape: finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: red and brown on the upper parts and, red and white underneath
(Description:)            Bill Type: triangular
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The raspberry red on the top of the head extended down the back of the head, to the neck, through the brown stripes on the back, down to the rump. There was no white eye ring. The red on the throat and upper chest was the same red color as the top of the head. The streaking on the flanks was red and brownish and the undertail coverts were white with no streaks.  The bill was fairly straight but there was slight down curve at the very tip.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: It was drinking at the bird bath when I first saw it, then it  when to the seed feeder and ate some sunflower seeds and  then went into the apple tree where it was less active.
Habitat: Back yard with quite a few trees, wild rose bushes and varied foliage.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
A House Finch would have had brown/gray on the top of the head with an orange red visor, a more curved culmen and gray streaks on the belly and  undertail coverts.

A Cassin's Finch would have had a white eye ring, a straighter longer bill, light pinkish on the throat and breast rather than darker red, and would have had gray streaks on the undertail coverts. The red on the top of the head would have been more restricted to the top and front of the head.  There would have been more of a crest rather than a rounded head..

Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've seen them in Michigan.
References consulted: Sibleys, second edition and Nat. Geographic field guide.
Description from: Memory and photos taken at the time of the sighting.
Observer: Milton Glen Moody
Observer's address: Provo, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: 3/9/2021
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: