Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Grey-crowned Rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis)


French: Roselin à tête grise German: Schwarzstirn-Schneegimpel Spanish: Pinzón montano nuquigrís

Linaria (Leucosticte) tephrocotis


, 1832,

near Carlton House, Saskatchewan, Canada


Often treated as conspecific with all of L. arctoa, L. atrata and L. australis; recent analysis of mitochondrial DNA indicates close genetic similarity among all four#R. Has hybridized with L. atrata. Nominate race and griseonucha intergrade in Alaska. Proposed race irvingi (described from Anaktuvuk Pass, in N Alaska) considered synonymous with nominate, and maxima (from Commander Is, off NE Russia) synonymized with griseonucha. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. t. griseonucha (J. F. Brandt, 1842) – Grey-faced Rosy-finch – Commander Is, and Aleutian Is (including Shumagin Is and Semidi Is) E to Kodiak I and W Alaskan Peninsula.
  • L. t. umbrina Murie, 1944 – Hall I, St Matthew I and Pribilof Is, in Bering Sea.
  • L. t. littoralis S. F. Baird, 1869 – SC Alaska E to W Canada (SW Yukon, NW British Columbia) and S in W USA from Washington and Oregon (along Cascade Mts, Steens Mts) to N California (Mt Shasta); winters in S of breeding range E to C Montana, W Nevada, N Utah and C New Mexico.
  • L. t. tephrocotis (Swainson, 1832) – Grey-crowned Rosy-finch – N & C Alaska E to NW Canada (C Yukon, British Columbia, W Alberta) and NW USA (NW Montana); winters from S British Columbia E to SW Saskatchewan and South Dakota, S to NE California, Nevada, Utah, W Colorado and N New Mexico.
  • L. t. wallowa A. H. Miller, 1939 – NE Oregon (Wallowa Mts); winters S to WC Nevada and CE California.
  • L. t. dawsoni Grinnell, 1913 – E California (Sierra Nevada and White Mts).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–18 cm; 21–29 g, 41–60 g (griseonucha and umbrina). Large and large-billed, stout brown finch with long pointed wing, whitish or pinkish... read more


    Song, usually only at start of breeding season from early Feb (and usually only in early morning),... read more


    Mainland races breed in alpine snowfields, meadows, glaciers, cliffs, scree slopes and rocky areas... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly seeds, buds, shoots; some insects. Seeds and shoots include those of Cochlearia, crowberry (Empetrum), wild... read more


    Season late Apr to Jul/Aug; montane populations usually single-brooded, island populations (Aleutian Is and Pribilof Is) two or three... read more


    Resident and migratory. Races griseonucha and umbrina sedentary; dawsoni... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, locally common or scarce. In early 20th century, numbers of this species breeding on Pribilof Is severely reduced by extremely large winter... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Grey-crowned Rosy-finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis). 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).