Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)


French: Roselin de Lichtenstein German: Weißflügelgimpel Spanish: Camachuelo desertícola

Fringilla obsoleta

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

Kara-ata, near Bukhara, Uzbekistan




SC & SE Turkey, Syria, Israel and NE Egypt (Sinai) E to C Jordan, N & C Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, C, S & E Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, NW & N China (Xinjiang E to Inner Mongolia and Gansu), S to N Afghanistan and W Pakistan (Baluchistan), expanding to S Caucasus#R and S Arabia#R; winters also to S Afghanistan and N Pakistan (Chitral).

Descriptive notes

14·5–15 cm; 17–28 g. Medium-sized, slender sandy-coloured conical-billed finch with black-and-pink wings and notched tail. Male has broad black line from... read more


Song, from ground, top of rock, bush or low tree, a pleasant series of rambling or chattering... read more


Lowland and submontane dry, arid and semi-arid areas of open plains, semi-deserts and wadis with... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small seeds, buds, shoots; some insects. Seeds and buds include those of elm (Ulmus), Polygonaceae, Chenopodiaceae... read more


Season late Mar to Jul; two broods. Monogamous; pair-bond long-lasting, including into years when not nesting. Solitary or loosely colonial... read more


Resident and partial migrant. Post-breeding dispersal from end Jun or wanders locally short... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally common or erratic; uncommon in China and Pakistan. Turkish breeding population estimated at between 1000 and 10,000 pairs. Prior to... read more

Recommended citation

Clement, P. (2020). Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta). 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 26 February 2020).