• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Spinus lawrencei ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: FRINGILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A handsome and uncommon small finch, Lawrence's Goldfinch breeds across a small range in the woodlands of California and Baja California. Its highly erratic movements from year to year make assessment of its population trends very difficult.

YardMap Be on the Map
eBird, submit your observations

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
3.9–4.7 in
10–12 cm
Wingspan
8.3 in
21 cm
Weight
0.3–0.5 oz
9–14 g
Other Names
  • Chardonneret gris (French)
  • Dominiquito de Lawrence, Jilguero gris (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Lawrence's Goldfinch seems to have no loyalty to its breeding areas, being present in large number in a locality one year and absent the next. Its nomadic movements are probably related to availability of water and seed crops.
  • Unlike most migratory birds, Lawrence's Goldfinch moves mostly to the east and west, rather than northward and southward, between seasons.
  • Lawrence's Goldfinch was named by John Cassin in 1850 for his colleague George Lawrence, a New York businessman and ornithologist.

Habitat


Open Woodland

Open woodlands, chaparral, and weedy fields.

Food


Seeds

Almost exclusively seeds, mostly from annual plants.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–6 eggs
Egg Description
White and unmarked; sometimes very pale blue.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with down along back.
Nest Description

A loose cup of leaves and grass stems, with lichen where available, placed at mid-height in a tree.

Nest Placement

Tree

Behavior


Foliage Gleaner

Perches on a plant and picks seeds from it.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

The erratic movements of this species make tracking of trends very difficult, but overall population size is probably less than 200,000. Because of its limited numbers, it is included in the yellow (rare and/or declining) category on the Audubon WatchList.

Credits

  • Davis, J. N. 1999. Lawrence's Goldfinch (Carduelis lawrencei). In The Birds of North America, No. 480 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Lawrence
View dynamic map of eBird sightings