the housefinch is really just a sparrow blushing at all the romantic attention

The housefinch looks quite similar to the purple finch, which also has large areas of reddish color. The color purple didn’t have its own name until fairly recently; before that, the word “purple” was used for red, and that’s when the purple finch was named.

It’s interesting to see how words for colors have gotten more specific over the years. I’ve read that the oldest written mentions of colors refer only to light and dark, and then later red started being mentioned, followed gradually by the rest of the colors, one or two at a time. Some languages still have the same word for blue and green. It gets really complicated the more cultures and languages you study, though: see this article.

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