5 3/4-6 3/4" (15-17 cm). Dark brown back and
underparts; black forehead; gray nape and crown; pink
shoulder and rump. Face gray in coastal birds, brown in
interior populations. Female is similar, but less
Flying flocks give harsh cheep, cheep notes.
Alpine tundra and high snowfields; winters in nearby
3-5 white eggs in a bulky nest placed in a rock cavity.
Breeds from Alaska to California. Descends to lower
elevations near breeding areas in winter.
Rosy-Finch Range Map
During breeding, both the male and the female
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch grow a pair of "gular
pouches," opening from the floor of the mouth, which
they use to carry food to the young. This species feeds
mainly on minute alpine plant seeds and insects
wind-borne from lower elevations. The Gray-crowned
Rosy-Finch is found farther to the west than the similar
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch and Black Rosy-Finch. The
ancestors of the rosy-finches came from Asia. The mosaic
distribution of forms in the West may result from the
splitting of one population during glacial periods, or
from multiple invasions from Asia.
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