Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Great Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla)


French: Roselin tacheté German: Berggimpel Spanish: Camachuelo grande

Loxia rubicilla


, 1775,



Taxonomy uncertain. Race severtzovi (with kobdensis and diabolicus) has been treated as a separate species based on differences in plumage, breeding habitat and apparently vocalizations#R#R; however, taxa appear simply to be pale forms, with more intense white spotting on crown and breast and in whitish outer vane to outermost rectrix; moreover, molecular analysis has not confirmed the split#R and limited recordings suggest no difference in calls. Birds from WC Himalayas (Chitral E to Nepal and adjacent S Tibetan Plateau) proposed as race eblis (described from Puga, in E Kashmir), purportedly larger and slightly darker red than those further W in Himalayas, but differences may be clinal; further research required, including study of variation of diabolicus and birds from NW India. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. rubicilla (Güldenstädt, 1775) – Great Rosefinch – C & E Caucasus of SW Russia, N Georgia and N Azerbaijan.
  • C. r. diabolicus (Koelz, 1939) – NE Afghanistan, W Pamirs and Alai Mts.
  • C. r. kobdensis (Sushkin, 1925) – SE Russia (Tuva, Russian Altai and Sayan Mts) and W Mongolia S to NW China (N Xinjiang); in winter also E Kazakhstan.
  • C. r. severtzovi Sharpe, 1886 – Spotted Rosefinch – E & SE Kazakhstan (C Tien Shan, Dzhungarskiy Alatau), E Kyrgyzstan (E Pamirs), SW & WC China (W & SW Xinjiang, S & E Xizang, Qinghai and Sichuan, possibly also N Gansu), and from N Pakistan (Chitral E to Gilgit) and Ladakh E to N Nepal and NE India (to at least Sikkim), probably C Afghanistan#R; in winter also W & S Tajikistan.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 40–48·5 g. Large, stout rosefinch with large, conical bill and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race has lowermost forehead/base of upper... read more


    Male's advertising song, from ground or top of rock during breeding season (at least to mid-Aug... read more


    Alpine and subalpine areas with stunted and sparse vegetation, montane and submontane plateaux,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds, buds, shoots and flowers of small alpine plants, occasionally berries and small insects. Seeds and buds include those of ... read more


    Season late May to end Aug; generally single-brooded, in Caucasus probably more than one brood. Monogamous; pair-bond strong, possibly... read more


    Resident and altitudinal migrant. In Oct–Mar non-breeding season moves short-distances to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common in much of range; uncommon in N India and W China. Status in Kazakhstan unclear; recorded throughout year in Tien Shan and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Great Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla). 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 28 January 2020).