Pine Siskin Gender Identification

GBP Notes 10/28/20

Good morning GreatBirdPics Members!

A couple of days ago I shared my “discovery” that there is a visible difference between male and female Black-and-White Warblers.  Recently I made the same “discovery” about Pine Siskins.  I really enjoy watching Pine Siskins because they are small, sleek, beautiful birds.  Interestingly enough, we didn’t see any last winter but have seen lots of them this winter.  I spoke to one of my Bird Brain friends Denis about it and he said they tend to migrate down here every-other year!

As I was viewing some of them at my thistle feeder in the back I noticed that some had more yellow on their wings than others.  It began to dawn on me that this could be a gender difference so I went back to my field guide and sure enough, the males have yellow on their wings whereas the females don’t.  Both are heavily streaked.  Let’s take a look at pictures of each.

Male Pine Siskin


Female Pine Siskin


In the above pictures note the bright yellow on the wings and tail of the male, with none on the female.  Below are a couple of pics of them in flight.  See if you can spot the males and the females.

Pine Siskins in Flight


Male Pine Siskin above, Female below


Looking at both pictures you see some with yellow Greater Coverts, some without.  The males have the yellow.  Keep an eye out for these birds at your thistle feeder, but don’t confuse them with Goldfinch, which are similar size and overall coloration.  Note in the picture below the yellow in the male Pine Siskin above with the Goldfinch below.

Male Pine Siskin above, Goldfinch below


Off you go now in search of Pine Siskins – Happy Birding!


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