The blue finch is a species of bird in the tanager family Thraupidae. It is native to South America where it occurs in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Trinidad and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical swamps, freshwater marshes, arable land, rural gardens, urban areas, heavily degraded former forest, irrigated land, seasonally flooded agricultural land, and pasturelands.
The blue finch was described by Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae. He named it Poecile caeruleus. In 1828, the French ornithologist Louis Vieillot changed the specific epithet to coerulescens. This change was upheld by German ornithologists Friedrich Boie and Johann Jakob Kaup in 1829. The English zoologist William Swainson did not accept this change. Instead he followed the original Latin description and used P. caeruleus.
In his 1870 publication A Synopsis of Birds collected during the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger round the World, John Gould listed the blue finch under the binomial name of Porphyrospiza coerulescens. In 1912 the American biologist Charles Bendire proposed a new genus name, Cercomela, for the blue finch and placed it within the Emberizinae subfamily. However, the International Ornithological Congress rejected this proposal. In 1916, the British ornithologist Robert Ridgway suggested that the blue finch belonged in the genus Zoneritis.
In 1917, the American ornithologist George Washington Vincent published a paper proposing that the blue finch belongs to the genus Neospiza. In 1948, the Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews moved the blue finch into the genus Porphyrospiza. The genus Porphyrospila was later synonymized with Porphyrospiza and the blue finch became known as the blue finch.
Small Blue Birds / Small Finches
The IOC lists the scientific name as Porphyrospiza porphyrospilos. The IOC does not recognize the common names “blue finch”, “purple finch”, “scarlet finch”, “blue tit” and “fringed weaver”.
The Blue Finches (Pporhyrospiza caerulea) are medium-sized finches native to tropical regions of South America. They range across Central and South America from Mexico to Argentina.
These birds are also called Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Yellow-throated Blue Finch, Yellownecked Blue Finches, and Little Blue Finches.
They are small, slender, long-tailed, insectivorous finchlike birds with yellow bills and blackish wings.
Their plumage varies considerably depending on location; some populations have blue feathers around the tail while others have brown ones. Most have a white throat patch. They have a loud, clear song consisting of whistled notes.
The Blue Finches are often confused with the closely related Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), because both species look very similar. However, the Blue Finches’ larger size and brighter coloration distinguish it from the red-winged bird.
Blue Finches eat mainly insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars, ants, spiders, flies, moths, and butterflies.
In addition to eating insects, they also consume seeds, berries, fruits, nectar, and pollen.
Other Physical Details
The male American kestrel looks like it belongs on the cover of National Geographic magazine. Its body is long and lean, topped off by a distinctive crest along its head. But there’s one physical detail you might want to pay attention to — the female American kestrel is much smaller than her mate. Females typically weigh just half as much as males. And while the male is larger, he still weighs less than his partner. This difference in size is called sexual dimorphism, and it’s common among birds.
Why is this important? Well, because the bigger bird is usually dominant over the smaller one. In some cases, the big guy even takes over the nest. So how did this happen? Scientists think that natural selection played a role. As the species evolved, those individuals that had better survival skills tended to pass down their genes to future generations. Over time, the traits that helped the birds survive became more prevalent. For example, the larger kestrels tend to hunt prey farther away from their nests, where it’s harder for predators to reach them. Smaller birds tend to spend more time near the nest, where they’re easier targets.
So the next time you see a pair of American kestrels flying around your backyard, don’t forget about their differences. They’ll make great conversation starters.