Finches are some of the most beautiful creatures in the avian world, and there’s a whole bunch of them! Here is a highlight reel of 21 beautiful pictures of finches you can find across the world or right in your own backyard.
The Eurasian bullfinch is one of the canonical finches. Like a bull, it’s thick, stocky, and strong.
Many members of the finch family, like this thick-billed euphonia, are native to South America, spreading their luminous yellow coats everywhere they go.
You may know this bird as the face (and beak) behind the Carel Fabritius painting The Goldfinch and the Donna Tartt novel of the same name, but the European goldfinch is a luminous bird in its own right.
While some finches flit about jungles, grasslands, or savannas, others, like the pine grosbeak, flash their flaming plumage through northern pine forests.
One of the delightful things about finches is that they come in so many shapes and sizes that categorizing them is a challenge. The Japanese grosbeak, for example, is commonly confused with the hawfinch.
In light of Charles Darwin’s work on finches in On the Origin of Species, one of the most famous things about finches is their beaks, including both standard beaks and more distinctive beaks, like those of the red crossbill.
Asian Crimson-Winged Finch
A variety of finches are noteworthy for their eclectic patterning, but more conservative finches, like this Asian crimson-winged finch, show that beauty is in the details, too.
There are so many finches around the world. Many are common in specific nations and regions, including the Mongolian finch.
Though Darwin’s famous relationship with finches dominates the scientific narrative (see more about Darwin’s finches below), other nineteenth-century scientists have examined the birds. These include William Thomas Blanford, which is where the Blanford’s rosefinch gets its name.
It’s a good thing that ornithologists have a sense of humor. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a good name for this scholarly-looking bird, the spectacled finch!
Finches are known to have an excellent sense of style, and chief among them is the aptly named golden-naped finch.
Finches typically take up full-time residence in their home regions, rather than migrating. That means birds like this dark-breasted rosefinch need to get warm for the winter!
Medium Ground Finch
The medium ground finch is one of the 18-strong groups known as Darwin’s finches. Darwin used the finches in the Galapagos Islands to formulate a theory of natural selection, noting that the birds had evolved different beaks depending on their location.
The green warbler-finch is another of Darwin’s birds–though he didn’t know it was a finch until he returned home from the Galapagos Islands! At the time, he believed the bird was a wren, but after speaking with ornithologist John Gould in London, he learned it was, in fact, a finch.
Small Tree Finch
The small tree finch is the third of Darwin’s finches on this list. Many factors separate the finches Darwin observed in the Galapagos, but the most notable was their beak sizes, which they had adapted to eat different insects and nuts.
Large Ground Finch
The large ground finch is the biggest of Darwin’s finches and is absent from the southern islands.
Despite their names, yellow canaries are also members of the finch family.
The next bird on this list is another finch that doesn’t include the species in the name, though that doesn’t make it any less beautiful! On top of that, this member of the true finch family is noteworthy for their beautiful song. The voice of the elegant euphonia is the origin of their name, which is Greek for “good song.”
Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch
Some canaries seem less luminous than average, like the Gran Canaria blue caffinch, but they’re no less beautiful as specimens.
The Gouldian finch is also called the rainbow finch, for obvious reasons.
Our final bird is a multicolored powerhouse with a beautiful song, the violaceous Euphonia. Previously, birds like this one and the Elegant Euphonia were categorized in the tanager family (Thraupidae), but recent research led to the birds’ reclassification as finches. Welcome to the family, Euphonia!
These are just 21 of the most remarkable finch species, though there are many more. Which one is your favorite?