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Black Rosy-Finch

Leucosticte atrata ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: FRINGILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Black Rosy-Finch is a bird of the high mountains in the central United States. It nests above treeline, and is often the bird that nests at the highest elevation on a particular mountain.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
5.5–6.3 in
14–16 cm
Wingspan
13 in
33 cm
Weight
0.8–1.1 oz
22–32 g
Other Names
  • Rosy Finch (in part)
  • Roselin noir (French)

Cool Facts

  • The breeding biology of the Black Rosy-Finch is unusual in that a male primarily defends a floating territory around his mate, rather than a fixed piece of real estate. As a result, males constantly chase other males that approach their mates too closely, and females are most readily located by looking near the center of all the fighting.
  • Wintering flocks of Black Rosy-Finches roost in large communal roosts in caves, mine shafts, on rafters of barns, and in clusters of old Cliff Swallow nests.
  • Black Rosy-Finches are among the least studied of North American birds because of the inaccessibility of their alpine habitat generally and their nest sites on cliffs in particular. Reflecting this, actual nests had been reached by only three researchers as of 2002.

Habitat


Mountains

Breeds in alpine areas, usually near rock piles, and cliffs. Winters in open country, including mountain meadows, high deserts, valleys, and plains.

Food


Seeds

Seeds and insects.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–6 eggs
Egg Description
White.
Condition at Hatching
Helpless with sparse down.
Nest Description

Cup of grass and stems, lined with fine grass, hair, and occasionally feathers. Placed in crack or hole in cliff, on small cliff ledge under overhanging rocks, or under rocks in talus slides.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Picks up insects and seeds from surface of snow, mud, and tundra.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

No apparent population trends; might be declining.

Credits

  • Johnson, R. E. 2002. Black Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte atrata). In The Birds of North America, No. 678 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Black Rosy-Finch Range Map
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