Photo: Glenn Bartley/Vireo

Black Rosy-Finch

Leucosticte atrata

High mountains of the northern Great Basin region, from northeastern Nevada to southwestern Montana, are the stronghold of this uncommon bird. Black Rosy-Finches spend the summer around the snowfields and barren tundra of the rocky crags, where few birders venture. In winter, however, flocks come down into the high valleys. The striking males, their black plumage contrasting with touches of pale rose, make a beautiful spectacle against the snow.
Conservation status Rather uncommon and local. Numbers probably stable at the moment, but its mountaintop habitats are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Family Finches
Habitat Rocky summits, alpine snowfields and tundra; winters in open country at lower levels. Breeds on barren tundra of mountain peaks, mostly in rocky areas and often near persistent snowfields. Winters in open country of mountains and nearby valleys, often coming into towns.
High mountains of the northern Great Basin region, from northeastern Nevada to southwestern Montana, are the stronghold of this uncommon bird. Black Rosy-Finches spend the summer around the snowfields and barren tundra of the rocky crags, where few birders venture. In winter, however, flocks come down into the high valleys. The striking males, their black plumage contrasting with touches of pale rose, make a beautiful spectacle against the snow.
Photo Gallery
  • adult male
  • adult female

Eggs

4-5, sometimes 3. White, unmarked. Incubation is by female only, about 12-14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings, although the female may do most of it at first. Young probably leave the nest about 20 days after hatching, are fed by their parents for at least another 2 weeks. 1 brood per year.


Young

Both parents feed the nestlings, although the female may do most of it at first. Young probably leave the nest about 20 days after hatching, are fed by their parents for at least another 2 weeks. 1 brood per year.

Diet

FEEDING. Diet and feeding behavior are very similar to those of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch


Nesting

Males apparently outnumber females, and during the breeding season a male who has a mate usually attends her closely to keep rival males away. Nest: Located in a well-protected site in a crevice or hole in a cliff, usually in an inaccessible place; sometimes in a niche among boulders of a rockslide. Nest (built by female) is a bulky open cup of grass and moss, lined with fine grass, animal hair, and sometimes feathers.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Most apparently move downhill in late fall, with flocks appearing in high valleys and plateaus in winter, including areas some distance to south of breeding range.

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Migration

Most apparently move downhill in late fall, with flocks appearing in high valleys and plateaus in winter, including areas some distance to south of breeding range.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A variety of low cheep notes are used in various situations: as a contact call in flight and in proclaiming an occupied nesting territory.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Finches Perching Birds

Black Rosy-Finch

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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