Gray-crowned Rosy-FinchLeucosticte tephrocotis
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Fringillidae
This delicate pink-and-brown songbird is among the hardiest of all birds. Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches nest in the highest parts of the highest mountains in North America—the Brooks Range, the Rockies, the Cascades, and the Sierra Nevada—as well as on Alaska’s Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. These little birds flash pink bellies and wings as they forage, seemingly at complete ease, on snowfields, forbidding talus slopes, and in high winds or snowstorms. In winter they move downslope to avoid heavy snow and may visit feeders, sometimes alongside other rosy-finch species.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches usually require a hike to find, particularly in summer when they tend to stay high in barren mountains near snowline. During winter they often descend to lower elevations, where they can be regular at feeders in some communities. Follow recent sightings from local birders or check eBird to help track down this nomadic species. They’re also fairly easy to find on remote Alaskan islands, if you have the chance to visit.
- Pinzón Montano Nuquigrís (Spanish)
- Roselin à tête grise (French)
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches may visit backyard bird feeders in the winter. They readily eat black oil sunflower seed scattered on the ground or on platform feeders.
- Cool Facts
- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch probably holds the record for highest-altitude breeding bird in North America, as it nests on the slopes of Denali, the continent’s highest peak.
- Perhaps because of its remote breeding sites, which allow little contact with humans, the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch seems almost fearless and allows people to approach closely.
- Between 1983 and 1993, the three rosy-finch species of North American were merged with the Asian Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte arctoa) into a single species. But later genetic, biochemical, and morphological evidence prompted scientists to split the group into four species again: Asian, Gray-crowned, Brown-capped, and Black.
- The oldest recorded Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch was a female, and at least 6 years, 7 months old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Alaska.