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Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis


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Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, male
credit: Alan D. Wilson/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Fringillidae, Finches view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has black forecrown and throat, rosy wing coverts, rosy edges to flight feathers, and rosy rump and belly. Interior breeders (ssp. tephrocotis) have gray rear crown and warm brown cheeks, breast, and streaked back. Coastal breeders (ssp. littoralis aka "Hepburn's") are similar, but cheeks, as well as rear crown, are gray. Bering Sea island breeders also have gray cheeks, but back and breast, are blackish brown. ADULT FEMALE Similar to respective subspecies male, but paler overall; pink elements of plumage are less intense. JUVENILE Brown overall, with pale edges to wing feathers.

Dimensions Length: 5 3/4-6 3/4" (15-17 cm)

Habitat Locally common in suitable open ground habitats, particularly tundra. Interior breeders nest above treeline from central Alaska to northern Rockies, while coastal breeders nest from northwestern Alaska to Oregon; both subspecies move south for winter, typically found at high elevations. Bering Sea island birds are resident.

Observation Tips Fairly easy to find in summer at edges of melting snow.

Range Alaska, Plains, Western Canada, Rocky Mountains, California, Southwest, Northwest

Voice Song is a descending series of call-like whistles; call is a harsh chew.

Discussion Hardy finch that favors Arctic or alpine habitats. Forms flocks outside breeding season and often searches for seeds at edge of snowfields. In flight, all birds show very pale flight feathers on underwing. All birds have black bills in summer, yellow in winter. Several subspecies exist, separable on plumage differences, range, and habitat. Sexes are separable.