It is known as the Magnolia State and is also known for the majestic river with which it shares its name.
This land of verdant pine forests, rolling plains, and silent marshes, is also known for its extensive warm summers, abundant showers, and rather mild winters.
The Northern mockingbird, recognizable by its plumage in varying shades of gray and its rather extensive repertoire of songs, calls this southern state home. As do many more forms of avian wildlife. There are 426 bird species in Mississippi.
Seven of them are those small to medium-sized birds which belong to the passerine family.
And we’ve covered them all here, so you can find out all you need to know about finches in Mississippi.
- Scientific Name: Hesperiphona vespertina
- Length: 6 – 9 inches
- Weight: 1.4 – 3 ounces
- Wingspan: 12 – 14 inches
Male members of this species of finches are covered in plumage with striking contrasts. Their brown heads are interrupted by a thick band of yellow above the eyes while their torsos are a brownish yellow.
Their wings on the other hand have the appearance of two white wedges with thick black edges. The plumage of females is less striking and is a soft gray with yellow at the neck.
Evening grosbeaks are rarely seen in Mississippi. However, these large finches may visit the state during the winter months since its southern border also forms part of their southernmost winter range. However, they spend most of their time in the western United States and Canada.
- Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus
- Length: 5 – 6 inches
- Weight: 0.6 – 0.9 ounces
- Wingspan: 8 – 10 inches
These adaptable finches can be recognized by their plumage, which is predominantly brown and covered in streaks of the same color at the chest and flanks in both genders.
In males, the head is covered in a flush of vivid red, orange, or even yellow, which extends to the chest. That flush of additional color is, however, absent in females.
House finches can be found throughout the state of Mississippi, all year long. However, as is the case with most states in the American South, they only visit its extreme south during winter.
- Scientific Name: Haemorhous purpureus
- Length: 4.7 – 6.3 inches
- Weight: 0.63 – 1.10 ounces
- Wingspan: 10 inches
These rose finches are often mistaken for house finches, which they tend to avoid at bird feeders. However, female purple finches are covered in plumage with bolder striations compared to their female house finch counterparts.
Male purple finches are also covered in a cooler shade of red which seems to have hints of purple or pink compared to the sharper scarlet of their house finch counterparts.
That raspberry-red hue also covers male purple finches over a wider surface and can be found at their upper surfaces as well as their flanks.
Purple finches can be found all over Mississippi in winter as well as in other states east of Texas. However, they can be found all year round on the Pacific coast, in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maine.
- Scientific Name: Loxia curvirostra
- Length: 7.5 inches
- Weight: 2 ounces
- Wingspan: 12 inches
Females of the species are covered in olive plumage. However, these beautiful birds derive their name from the plumage of the male, which is orange or copper. The wing and tail feathers of both genders are dark brown while their crisscrossed bills are dark gray.
Red crossbills rarely visit America’s South and, as a result, are rarely found in Louisiana’s eastern neighbor. However, they may do so during winter in which case they may be found throughout the state of Mississippi.
They may, however, be found to the north along the borders of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, where they live all year long.
They may also be found in a similar capacity in the western United States.
- Scientific Name: Spinus pinus
- Length: 4 – 5.5 inches
- Weight: 0.40 – 0.60 ounces
- Wingspan: 7 – 9 inches
Pine siskins sport a slender beak, which is dark gray. The bird itself is covered in plumage which is grayish brown at the head and upper surface and white at the chest. That plumage is also covered in darker brown stripes, which are especially bold at the chest. The pine siskin’s tail and wing feathers are brown and with hints of yellow.
This passerine is rather talkative and somewhat confrontational when it comes to protecting its favorite feeding spots from its fellow finches.
It is often found foraging with goldfinches including those of the American and the lesser varieties, and can be found throughout Mississippi during winter.
- Scientific Name: Spinus psaltria
- Length: 3.5 – 5 inches
- Weight: 0.3 – 0.4 ounces
- Wingspan: 6 – 8 inches
Like several avian species, the differences between male and female lesser goldfinches are rather striking. The undersurface of males is a bright citrus yellow while the upper surface is olive or black. Males also sport a black cap and black wings with white bars. Female lesser goldfinches are brown at the upper surface and an olive color at the head while their undersurfaces are off-white.
Their wings also exhibit the same patterns as males although their feathers are brown rather than black.
Lesser goldfinches descend on Mississippi in winter and may be found throughout the state. They also spend the season in a similar capacity throughout the United States although they may be found throughout the year in its western states including California, Oregon, and Idaho.
- Scientific Name: Spinus tristis
- Length: 5.5 inches
- Weight: 0.4 – 0.7 ounces
- Wingspan: 8 – 9 inches
These members of the goldfinch family are the most widespread in America. During breeding season, mature males sport a citrus yellow plumage which contrasts with a black forehead patch. That enchanting contrast is also further accentuated owing to their black wing feathers with a single white wing bar.
Their undertail coverts are white, while their notched tails are covered in black feathers.
Females are nowhere near as colorful, although their breeding plumage is a beautiful light buff color.
Once winter comes around, both genders look somewhat similar as their plumage takes on an olive hue.
American goldfinches can be found all year long in Mississippi’s extreme north close to its border with Tennessee, where they live all year long. However, they spread to the rest of the state every winter in keeping with their habit of spending the season in North America’s extreme south.
Alabama’s western neighbor is visited or is home to fewer finch species compared to several states in North America. Some of them, such as evening grosbeaks and red crossbills, are occasional winter visitors. Nonetheless, Mississippi provides excellent opportunities for bird watchers to admire some of North America’s most colorful and intriguing passerines, such as purple and American goldfinches in winter or house finches all year round.