Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

Blog Contact Us Directions

3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

Shop For Plants Cart Contents

This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria

The Lesser goldfinch can be distinguished from the American Goldfinch by the lack of white at the base of its tail. When the two species are side by side, they are quite easy to tell apart. The American Goldfinch is much brighter than the Lesser Goldfinch. Eastern males have black backs where as the western males have greenish backs. The females are much duller.

These birds are very gregarious and often seen in mixed flocks with Lawrence's Goldfinches.

Reproduction of the Lesser Goldfinch

The Lesser Goldfinch does not mind nesting in deciduous trees. They also nest in shrubs. They like to build their nests at the end of branches.

Niche filled by the Lesser Goldfinch

Like most finches the Lesser Goldfinch does not feed entirely on seeds. They also eat an occasional arthropods.

Habitat/Plant community of the Lesser Goldfinch

Valley Grassland


Northern Oak woodlands

Coastal sage scrub

Central Oak woodland

Southern Oak woodland


How to attract Lesser Goldfinch to your garden

The Lesser Goldfinch can be attracted to your garden by a birdbath. They also like seeds. See diet.

Diet of the Lesser Goldfinch

The Lesser Goldfinch feeds mainly on seeds but they can also be found feeding on fruits, buds and insects. They do not use trees as much as the Lawrence's and American goldfinches. However, they will eat buds, flowers, and acorns from Oak trees. They also eat the fruits from Willow, Salix spp., Alder, Alnus spp, and Birch, Betula spp. The Lesser Goldfinch can often be seen in the chaparral eating Chamise and Woolly Blue-curls seeds. They also like to feed on Asteraceae. Some other plants used are Miner's lettuce, Red Maids, Fiddle neck, Amsinckia spp. and Dove weed, Eremocarpus setigerus, Night Shades, Solanum spp, Sage Salvia spp, Catch-fly, Silene spp. Tar weed Hemizonia spp.,

A large portion of the diet consists of weeds including Bromus spp., Centuria spp., and Erodium spp. The Insects eaten include aphids and caterpillars. These are eaten in the summer.