The Golden Bird

Vibrant yellow in color and small in size, the Saffron Finch can be spotted in many places throughout the islands. A native to South America, it is believed that the Saffron Finch was first introduced to Hawaii in the 1960s and has been comfortably at home ever since. Preferring both open and semi-open areas, these birds dwell in lowlands and lightly forested regions. Their diet mainly consists of seeds and grains, but they also tend to forage for insects and plants so it’s best to catch a glimpse of the energetic bird while they rummage the ground. Beautiful and unique in color, you may be able to distinguish the gender of the Saffron based on their distinctive features. Females are typically smaller than males with a faint yellow body and more olive-brown streaks amongst their wings. Males usually have a bright yellow body with an orange crown and blackish markings on their wings.  Either way, the Saffron Finch is neither hard to miss or confuse with any other bird species on the island. Over the years, people have taken great interest in domesticating the Saffron Finch, though their energetic nature and love for flying make them unsuitable for taking them as a pet. And don’t be fooled by their diminutive size. Saffron Finches tend to be feisty and extremely territorial—male birds are known to be very aggressive during mating season and will fight to death. It’s not surprising that they defend their turf by brazenly intimidating or aggressively provoking more passive species, even those twice their size!  Regardless, the Saffron Finch is a vibrant, striking bird that thrives on the Hawaiian Islands.

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