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Brown-capped Rosy-Finch Life History


Habitat TundraAbove timberline wherever proper cliffs, caves, rock slides, or old buildings provide nest sites, and where adequate feeding grounds on tundra, rock slides, snowfields, and glaciers are within commuting distance. Winters in open areas, including alpine tundra during fair weather, and in high parks, meadows, and open valleys of grass or open shrubland between mountain ranges.Back to top


Food SeedsSeeds, insects, and spiders.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Tightly woven cup of fine grass, stems, and rootlets surrounded by thicker layer of woven coarse stems and roots and mud, lined with grass, feathers, and hair. Placed under large rocks in rockslides and moraines; on rafters in old buildings; on walls of caves, abandoned mines, and railroad tunnels; and most frequently in holes, fissures, and ledges of cliffs.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:3-6 eggs
Egg Description:White.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless with sparse down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerPicks insects and seeds from surface of snow, mud, and tundra.Back to top


Conservation Red Watch ListBrown-capped Rosy-Finch populations may be declining. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 45,000 with 100% living in the U.S. They rate a 17 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, are a Tri-National Concern Species, and a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.Back to top

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.

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Johnson, Richard E., Paul Hendricks, Donald L. Pattie and Katherine B. Hunter. 2000. Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte australis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2019). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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