Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Life History


Habitat TundraBreeds in alpine areas, usually near snow fields or glaciers, talus, rockpiles, and cliffs. Winters in open country, including mountain meadows, shrublands, roadsides, towns, cultivated areas, rocky hillsides, and margins of dry ditches.Back to top


Food SeedsSeeds, insects, and some vegetation.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

Nest Description

Bulky cup of moss, lichen, grass, and sedge, lined with fine grass, hair, wool, and feathers. Placed in crack or hole in cliff or on small cliff ledge under overhanging rocks, occasionally on the ground, and rarely on a building. Usually not visible, totally hidden in cracks or holes or among boulders.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:2-6 eggs
Egg Description:White and unmarked, or with some reddish or brownish specks.
Condition at Hatching:Helpless and covered with long, fluffy gray down that only partially conceals skin.
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Behavior Ground ForagerGenerally forages among low plants and picks insects from plants and off of snowfields. Also captures flying insects on the wing and forages in conifers.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernPopulation trends of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch are difficult to estimate, in part due to the species' remote breeding areas. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 200,000 with 88% spending part of the year in the U.S., and 43% in Canada. The species rates a 12 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. The remoteness of breeding sites reduces the impacts of human activity. 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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Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Macdougall-Shackleton, Scott A., Richard E. Johnson and Thomas P. Hahn. (2000). Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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, USA.

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