What do House Finches eat is a popular query among birders. Here’s where you can find everything you need to about the diet of this species!

Just like human cultures share varying tastes for food, the same goes for birds. Even birds that look and sound similar may have surprisingly different food choices. If you’re looking to attract House Finches to your garden – we’ve got just what you need!

Our House Finch-centric article will talk about all you need to know about this species’ diet. That way, you can put all that information to good use and see the House Finch numbers in your backyard increase in no time. 

What Do House Finches Eat In The Wild

House Finches primarily live as vegetarians but are known to venture into an insectivorous diet also. Most birds switch from preying on pests to feeding on weed seeds, flower buds, and fruit, depending on the change of seasons and abundance of food. Aphids are among the insects they prefer. 

Wild mustard seeds, mulberry, and poison oak are some of the options available in the wild. House Finches, however, are not among them. They hustle up seeds and plant parts by exploring the ground as well as trees. 

When incubating the eggs, the female depends on the male to bring seeds and regurgitate them. Regurgitation is also part of the courtship ritual where the male deposits seed into the prospective mate’s beak. Nestlings are also fed in the same manner by the parents, which is uncommon in the world of birds, where most granivores feed bugs to their young.

 house finch diet

The Hawaii House Finch

In Hawaii, House Finches are known as the papaya bird. This is due to their deep fondness for the papaya fruit. An interesting side effect of this food choice is that the plumage of Hawaiian house finches lacks red hues. Researchers believe that this is because birds cannot naturally produce red pigment, and the house finch’s food preferences decide its color.

When a bird is molting and preparing to grow new feathers, the redness of the food decides how red its new plumage will be. 

This means that house finches who do not eat sufficiently red food end up with orange or yellow feathers. This is especially important to the ladies as they are attracted to the male with the brightest feathers.

A surprising addition to House Finch’s food choices is basic salt. They seek out soil and areas with mineral deposits containing salt to gobble it up. Their regular diet consists mainly of seeds, buds, and fruits. Even in the summers, when pests are aplenty, they will only rarely prey on them.

What Do House Finches Eat As Housepets

You can own House Finches if you have a permit. These chirping chaps would be a vibrant addition to any pet lover’s home. But it is also essential to know how to give them balanced, nutritious meals as being captive means they cannot forage on their own. House Finches enjoy black oil sunflower seeds more than any other kind of sunflower seeds.

They are also quite partial to niger seeds and safflower seeds. As seed predation is the primary dietary behavior for house finches, a good idea would be to mix up various types of seeds to keep them interested in their dinner plates. 

House Finches also eat greens, as everyone should! Researchers observed that juicy greens like celery tops helped this bird survive without water for a week. This further proved that House Finches don’t simply need water to live; they just really enjoy drinking and bathing in it.

In the wild, where there is no shortage of orchards and fruit-bearing trees, house finches eat a large assortment of fruits like plums, strawberries, apricots, and figs, as well as blossoms. Cherries are a particular favorite among the species. Including such fruit in the feeding tray is your best bet for having healthy, happy house finches in your home.

As a pet owner, one must also remember always to get organic food rather than processed or treated with harsh chemical pesticides, which can be disastrous for the delicate creature.

 house finch food

How To Attract House Finches To Your Backyard

House finches are big drinkers and, during the sweltering heat, can drink as much as 40% of their body weight! House finches are avid fans of nectar and can plunder your hummingbird feeder for a gulp of the sweet drink. Placing a water source in your backyard will definitely catch a passing finch’s eye.

This is an excellent way to make them habitual guests if you want to. If you would like to have both hummingbirds and house finches visit you, consider setting down a dish of nectar for finches because they may scare away the smaller competition. They are mainly seed-lovers and have a taste for sunflower seeds.

Any seed feeder is sure to see the local finches make a pit stop to sample the offerings. House Finches are not fussy about the type of feeder they are offered, although squirrel-proof feeders are very effective for allowing them to feed without fear. Yet, one thing the owner needs to be attentive about is to clean the feeding tray regularly.

House Finches use their sharp little bills to smash the seed’s shell before cleverly using their tongue to pull out the meat and chew it up. They leave covers lying around, which can cause quite a clutter around the bird table or in the backyard.

Depending on your location, you may host more males or females at your feeder. This is because female House Finches travel farther in the south than males do, so southern states see more females while northern states find males in abundance.


Remember, owning a pet means taking on considerable responsibility. That involves raising and protecting a tiny being that has no way of telling you when something is wrong.

Even if you only want to attract a house finch to your feeder, you will need to know its food preferences. If you’re going to keep a house finch as a pet, you need to have all the necessary info, like how and what they eat. Knowledge is power, and by knowing what house finches eat, you have the best chance of raising the happiest bird on the block or luring a wild one to join your backyard buffet.

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