Purple Finch
(Haemorhous purpureus)

Summary

Picture of bird
© Dan Busby
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Purple Finch is a widespread and common species of Canada's coniferous and mixed woodlands. Breeding Bird Survey results indicate that the population has shown a moderate decrease relative to the early 1970s. The species' population is somewhat cyclical (Wootton 1996), with fluctuations likely reflecting the availability of coniferous cone crops. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.

Designations

Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate DecreaseHighBelow Acceptable Level
 

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000,000 - 5,000,000 adults
 

Distribution maps

 

Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaHigh

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early May and early June and ends between late July and mid-August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.
 

Conservation and management

Population fluctuations are likely due to the cyclical availability of food sources, such as seed crops, but may also be influenced, both positively and negatively, by local forest management operations (Wootton 1996). Finch trichomonosis has been an ongoing concern for some finches in the Canadian Maritime provinces; emerging in 2007, finch trichomonosis has caused ongoing regional mortality in the Purple Finch (McBurney et al. 2015). Some logging practices can be beneficial because the Purple Finch prefers open wooded habitats. However, extensive clear-cutting will reduce its habitat (Wootton 1996). Purple Finch populations in the eastern portion of their range are also affected by competition from expanding House Finch populations (Wootton 1987).

 

Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NB -- Stewardship
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NS -- Stewardship
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Stewardship
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario and Manitoba -- Conservation
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Conservation
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Atlantic, NL -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation & Stewardship
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Conservation & Stewardship
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Conservation
 

References