Family Finches (Fringillidae)


Brown-capped Rosy-finch (Leucosticte australis)


French: Roselin à tête brune German: Coloradoschneegimpel Spanish: Pinzón montano coronipardo

Leucosticte tephrocotis var. australis


, 1874,

Mount Lincoln, Colorado, USA


Often treated as conspecific with all of L. arctoa, L. tephrocotis and L. atrata; recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA indicates close genetic similarity among all four#R. Hybridizes with L. atrata in areas of overlap. Monotypic.


W USA (Rocky Mts from S Wyoming S to N New Mexico); in winter moves to lower altitudes.

Descriptive notes

14–16·5 cm; 23–33 g. Large and large-billed, stout brown finch with long wings edged pinkish and forked tail. Male has whitish nasal tufts, lores, forehead... read more


Song, by male from rock or top of cliff or in circling song flight, mostly a long series of... read more


Montane tundra above tree-line, snowfields, edges of glaciers, rocky areas and boulderfields,... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds; also insects in summer. Seeds include those of Cyperaceae (Carex and Kobresia), Juncaceae (Luzula),... read more


Season end Jun to early Sept; one brood. Monogamous. Solitary, also loosely colonial, with inter-nest distance 2 m. Territorial; male... read more


Resident and altitudinal migrant. Post-breeding descent to lower-level grasslands and valleys... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Locally common to rare in Colorado, uncommon or rare in New Mexico, rare in Wyoming. In Colorado the most abundant breeding bird in alpine habitat, with... read more

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2019). Brown-capped Rosy-finch (Leucosticte australis). 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 20 November 2019).