Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

: A High-Altitude Bird

The Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte tephrocotis) is a small songbird that lives in the high-altitude mountains of western North America. This bird belongs to the Passeriformes order and the Fringillidae family, commonly referred to as finches.

Basic Description:

As its name suggests, this bird has a gray crown, which is a distinctive feature that helps identify it from other birds. The rest of its body feathers are brownish or black with white stripes on its wings and tail feathers. Its beak is short but stout and pinkish-grey in color; meanwhile, both male and female have similar physical appearances.

Where To Find This Bird:

These birds reside exclusively in high-altitude mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada range, Cascade Range as well as Alaska’s Brooks Range during breeding season. During winter seasons they will move down to lower altitudes where food resources are more abundant.


In summer months these birds breed at elevations ranging from 3000–4000 m while during non-breeding periods; they find shelter at elevations around 1000m above sea level.


Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches feed mainly on seeds like grasses seeds and weed seedheads found along dirt roadsides or open fields while foraging also occur feeding on insects when available.

Cool Facts:

• These birds usually form tight-knit flocks up to several hundred individuals outside breeding season.
• They have been recorded displaying exceptional navigation skills over very long distances.
• They can fly up to speeds exceeding 60 miles/hr
• The Gray-crowned Rosy-finch has one of the highest altitude nesting locations among any north American bird species.

Overall, Gray-crowned Rosy Finches play an essential role in our ecosystem by helping control weed populations through their feeding habits. Their high-altitude habitat makes them a challenging bird to spot, but they’re an interesting species worth keeping an eye out during hikes or mountain climbs.