|Conservation status||Fairly widespread and common, numbers probably stable. Most of its breeding range is remote from impacts of human disturbance.|
|Habitat||Barren tundra, alpine snowfields, rocky islands (off Alaska); winters in open country. Breeds in barren rocky tundra of high mountains and of Alaskan islands; mountain birds often are associated with snowfields. Winters in similar habitats, also in mountain valleys, open plains, towns.|
Forages mostly on ground or on snow. Sometimes flies up to catch insects in mid-air.
4-5, sometimes 3-6. May tend to lay more eggs in some Alaskan populations. Eggs white, rarely with a few reddish brown dots. Incubation is by female only, probably about 14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young probably leave the nest about 14-15 days after hatching, but this may vary among populations. 1 brood per year in mountains, often 2 among Alaskan island birds.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young probably leave the nest about 14-15 days after hatching, but this may vary among populations. 1 brood per year in mountains, often 2 among Alaskan island birds.
Mostly seeds and insects. Feeds mainly on seeds of grasses and weeds, especially in winter, when these may make up virtually entire diet. Also eats some buds and leaves, and eats many insects in summer. Young are fed mostly insects. Will eat salt.
One courtship display may involve male facing female, half-spreading and lowering his wings, and then raising and lowering them slowly. Nest: Typically placed in a niche among boulders, under a rock, or in a crevice in a cliff, sometimes in a hole in a building. Nest (built by female) is a rather bulky cup of grass, rootlets, lichens, moss, lined with fine grass and sometimes with feathers and animal hair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Those on the Aleutian and Pribilof islands in Alaska are permanent residents. Mountain populations farther south may move to lower elevations in winter; sometimes stray eastward, well out onto plains.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsFlying flocks give harsh cheep, cheep notes.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.