Thursday, June 14, 2012

Half-cap the Goldfinch

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Look closely at this bird. Notice anything missing? This is a male American goldfinch in summer/breeding plumage. Bright yellow body, black wings and tail...

Here's a photo of a different male American goldfinch. Notice the prominent black cap? Now look again at the male above. And, when you're ready, scroll down to the third image in this post.

This is the male American goldfinch we call Half-cap. He's been around our farm for more than a year. We're not sure why he has just half a black cap. Was it some genetic abnormality? Is he half female? Was he injured on his head at some point in his life?

Whatever the reason, he seems to be otherwise normal and enjoys all the things goldfinches do—sing, chatter, visit the feeders, fly around the valley in noisy, undulating flocks.

It's always nice to see him. He's another one of our marker birds—birds with a telltale physical feature that makes them easy to spot as individuals. We've had Mr. Troyer, the male eastern bluebird with a droopy wing from a sharp-shinned hawk attack; Snowflake the leucistic dark-eyed junco, and a few others.

I'm hoping Half-cap enjoys a long, fruitful life here on our farm.


On June 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM rebecca said...

I wonder if this could be related at all to bilateral gynandromorphy (had to look that up, as I could remember the concept but not the word), where the bird is literally male on one half and female on the other? Cute goldfinch, in any case.

On June 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM cyberthrush said...

looks more like a beret than a cap... perhaps he's a Goldfrench!

On June 19, 2012 at 11:13 AM suellent said...

I have seen such a male "half cap" at our birdfeeder in Maine as welll

On July 9, 2013 at 10:21 AM Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this article on the 1/2 cap Goldfinch. I too had an unusual experience. I spotted a male yesterday in Roswell, GA perched on my hanging basket of red petunias and marigolds. I first thought it was someone's parakeet on the lamb but on further inspection found it was a male Goldfinch with NO cap. P. Allison

On May 5, 2019 at 7:42 PM Unknown said...

I just had a bright yellow male goldfinch at my feeder with no black cap. He was there with a much duller yellow male who had a black cap.