Archive for November, 2016

House Finch, Male 11/6/16


House Finches, along with Purple and Cassin’s Finches, used to belong to the worldwide group of birds collectively known as rosy finches. But DNA studies have shown the North American rosy finches to have diverged considerably, and so they have been moved into their own genus Haemorhous, or blood finches. While a few migrate, here they are year round birds. They originated in the southwest but were introduced into NYC and have been spreading for decades, displacing their Purple Finch cousins.


Black-bellied Plover juvenile 11/4/16


Black-bellied Plovers breed on the Arctic islands and coasts of North America and Asia, wintering as far south as Argentina, South Africa, southern Asia, Australia, and even New Zealand. Here they are migrants just passing through, though you can find some wintering as far north as Cape Cod. Outside of North America  they are called Grey Plovers, even though they are the exact same species. Adult breeding plumage sports the bold black bellies, while winter adults are similar to juveniles like this one, only grayer and not as strongly speckled. These shorebirds belong to the genus Pluvialis—the rain plovers—of which there are 4 species around the world.