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Black Rosy-Finch


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
5.5–6.3 in
14–16 cm
13 in
33 cm
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.



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



Seeds and insects.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
3–6 eggs
Egg Description
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 Forager

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


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Though there are no apparent population trends, this species may be declining, and is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation action.


  • 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
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Backyard Tips

This species often comes to bird feeders. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.



Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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