Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

African Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys alienus)


French: Roselin de l’Atlas German: Atlasgimpel Spanish: Camachuelo alirrojo bereber

Rhodopechys aliena


, 1897,

Glaoui, Great Atlas, Morocco


Until fairly recently treated as conspecific with R. sanguineus#R, but differs in its weaker shade of red on face, especially around the eyes, and reduced or no pink tips to uppertail-coverts (2); cinnamon-tinged off-white throat and soft cinnamon upper breast and flank markings vs pale chestnut throat, upper breast and flank markings (2); off-whitish vs purer white mid-breast to vent, with wider dark edging to outer rectrices (thus undertail does not appear pure white when folded) (2); softer, less obvious dark streaking on greyer-washed mantle and back (ns[1]); greyish-sooty vs blackish crown and uppertail (ns[1]); and longer wing (effect size for males 1.86, score 1). Monotypic.


Morocco and NE Algeria.

Descriptive notes

15–18 cm. Large, large-billed, long-winged, sandy finch with bright pink in wing and notched tail. Male breeding has lower forehead, lores and anterior cheek (to base of bill... read more


Song, mostly during May to Aug/early Sept, a quiet grating “tchwili-tchwilichip”, clear, soft and... read more


Inhabits bare, stony montane and submontane slopes and high ridges, high-level valleys, and dry... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small seeds, and buds and shoots of grasses, semi-desert plants and alpine plants; also some insects. Seeds mainly those of families... read more


Season from mid May to end Jun (pairs forming from early May), occasionally later, fledglings seen early Jul; often two broods. Monogamous... read more


Altitudinal migrant; descends to lower levels in non-breeding season during Nov/Dec–Mar, at which... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common or fairly common in Morocco. Status in NE Algeria unclear, appears to be rare and little known; possibly a scarce... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). African Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys alienus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).