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Lawrence's Goldfinch


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
3.9–4.7 in
10–12 cm
8.3 in
21 cm
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.


Open Woodland

Open woodlands, chaparral, and weedy fields.



Almost exclusively seeds, mostly from annual plants.


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



Foliage Gleaner

Perches on a plant and picks seeds from it.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

The erratic movements of this species make tracking of trends very difficult. The North American Breeding Bird Survey estimates that between 1966 and 2014 numbers were stable, with a small decrease. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 300,000 with 83% spending some part of the year in the U.S., and 42% in Mexico. The species rates a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Lawrence's Goldfinch is a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.


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