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New World Finches: Emberizidae

Behavior And Reproduction

New World finches are diurnal (active during the day) birds; although some species sing at night during breeding. While singing, males sit where they will be easily seen, and throw back their head and ruffle their crown (top of head) or rump feathers. The birds sing mostly songs of simple notes. Species of tundra or prairie regions sing while in flight. The birds are territorial, with males defending with the use of songs, chases, and fights. Territories are used for nesting and foraging, but may leave the territory to look for food. New World finches usually migrate in small, loose flocks of numerous species. Some species form large flocks.

They are for the most part monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus) birds (that is, during a breeding season, one male is associated with one female). Exceptions occur in some species, probably due to differences in territory quality. Males sing to attract a mate, followed by chasing and shaking her, and then tumbling together on the ground. In some cases, birds mate with several individuals. The nest that is built is usually cup-shaped, and neatly made from grasses, weeds, roots, and other fibers. It is lined with mosses, hair, feathers, or wool. Nests are usually built on the ground or low in a bush. Females lay four to six off-white (usually light brown or light blue with reddish, brownish, or blackish marks) eggs. In all cases, only the female incubates (sitting before hatching) her eggs, usually for ten to fourteen days. When a breeding pair is present, both members will help to feed and care for young. The fledgling period (time necessary for young bird to grow feathers necessary to fly) is ten to fifteen days.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNew World Finches: Emberizidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Song Sparrow (melospiza Melodia): Species Accounts, Snow Bunting (plectrophenax Nivalis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, NEW WORLD FINCHES AND PEOPL