The bright red color on the male house finch’s (Haemorhous mexicanus) head and breast comes from the food it eats during the molt. The more red and yellow pigments in the diet, the brighter red the plumage. Male house finches do not make their red pigments. The plain, grey-brown female house finch chooses the reddest male she can find for her mate. This house finch was photographed along the Lower Hat Creek Trail (Shasta County CA).