Family Finches (Fringillidae)


Black Rosy-finch (Leucosticte atrata)


French: Roselin noir German: Rußschneegimpel Spanish: Pinzón montano negro

Leucosticte atrata


, 1874,

Cañon City, Colorado, USA


Often treated as conspecific with all of L. arctoa, L. tephrocotis and L. australis; recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA indicates close genetic similarity among all four#R. Has hybridized with L. tephrocotis; hybridizes with L. australis in area of overlap. Monotypic.


WC USA (SC Montana and E Oregon S to N Nevada, N Utah and W Wyoming); more widespread S to SC USA in non-breeding season.

Descriptive notes

14–16 cm; 20·7-32 g. Large, stoutly built blackish finch with bright pink edges of flight-feathers and forked tail. Male has whitish nasal tufts, lores, forehead... read more


Song, by male only, a long series of tuneless “chew” notes, either in phrases or as a... read more


Breeds on montane and submontane tundra, edges of snowfields and glaciers, cliffs and open scree... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly seeds and small insects. Seeds include those of families Brassicaceae (mostly Smelowskia, Arabis and mustard),... read more


Season Jun–Aug; one brood. Monogamous. Solitary or loosely colonial. Displaying male crouches with head held forward (may hold... read more


Altitudinal migrant, mostly remaining within breeding range or E to c. 200 km and S to c. 450 km... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Population most recently estimated at 10,000–20,000 mature individuals, and is declining. Between 1970 and 2014, the species is suspected to have declined... read more

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2019). Black Rosy-finch (Leucosticte atrata). 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 23 May 2019).