Family Finches (Fringillidae)

Least Concern

Red-fronted Rosefinch (Carpodacus puniceus)


French: Roselin à gorge rouge German: Felsengimpel Spanish: Camachuelo frentirrojo

Pyrrhospiza punicea


, 1845,



Previously treated in Pyrrhospiza, due to differences in bill shape and structure, size (longer wing and tail), tail shape (less deeply notched) and foot details (strong, with curved claws), but subsumed into Carpodacus following molecular work#R. Races intergrade widely in overlap areas; proposed race szetchuanus (described from N Sichuan), on average only slightly darker than longirostris, is synonymized with latter. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. humii (Sharpe, 1888) – SE Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai Mts) S to Himalayas of N Pakistan, Ladakh and N India (Uttarakhand).
  • C. p. kilianensis Vaurie, 1956 – extreme W China (mountains at W & S fringe of Tarim Basin, in W Xinjiang) S to NE Ladakh.
  • C. p. puniceus (Blyth, 1845) – C & E Himalayas from Nepal E to NE India (Arunachal Pradesh) and SW China (S Xizang).
  • C. p. longirostris (Przevalski, 1876) – C China (E Qinghai E to S Gansu and N & W Sichuan).
  • C. p. sikangensis Vaurie, 1956 – CS China (SW Sichuan and NW Yunnan).
  • Descriptive notes

    20 cm; 42–51 g. Large rosefinch with curved culmen and ridged lower mandible, strong feet and slightly notched tail. Male nominate race breeding has forehead and short... read more


    Song, from top of rock or on ground, given infrequently throughout year, a short "twiddle-le-... read more


    Breeds on montane plateaux well above tree-line (almost to limit of vegetation), on steep rocky... read more

    Food and feeding

    Largely seeds, buds, flowerheads, petals and berries, including those of roses (Rosa), Caragana and alpine plants.... read more


    Season late May to Aug. Monogamous. Solitary. Nest a thick or bulky cup of coarse grass, plant fibres, roots and animal hair, placed on... read more


    Resident and partial short-distance altitudinal migrant. In non-breeding season part of population... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to uncommon in most of range. Rare resident in SE Kazakhstan; status in W Tien Shan uncertain, possibly only occasional summer visitor... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clement, P. (2020). Red-fronted Rosefinch (Carpodacus puniceus). 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 January 2020).