SCIENTIFIC NAME: Leucosticte tephrocotis
The Gray-crowned Rosy Finch is a small songbird with short, conical bill and a fairly short tail.
Both sexes are about 5.5 - 8.3 inches in length, with 13 inches wingspan and weight of 22 - 60 grams.
Males are rich brown suffused with pink on the body, with gray sides of the head and a black fore crown and throat.
Females are similar but with less extensive pink. Bill is yellow.
Juveniles are brownish overall with grayish wings and a dusky bill.
CALL: Gives harsh “cheep, cheep” notes in flight or when in flocks.
Contact call is a buzzy “chew” and variations including “see-ew” or “chew-woo” are given before to take- off.
Alarm call is similar, and a high-pitched “peee” and loud chirps are given when a predator is approaching the nest.
SONG: They sing at start of breeding season.
Male utters a series of slow “chew” notes or “jeew jeew jeew” descending whistles interspersed with buzzing notes. The male sings from the ground or sometimes in flight, usually directed at female.
Winter diet: Feeds primarily on seeds of grasses and weeds. They may eat salt too.
Summer diet: Feeds on insects and also eats buds and leaves.
The adults feed the young mostly with insects carried in their throat pouch.
Breeds on lower-level tundra, cliffs, hillsides, grassy dunes, rocky beaches, scrubby areas, roadside edges and human settlements on Alaskan islands.
Winters in similar habitats but also in mountain valleys, plains and towns.
Occurs in Northern and Central Alaska East to North-western Canada and North-western USA (North-west Montana).
Winters from Southern British Columbia East to South-western Saskatchewan and South Dakota, South to North-eastern California, Nevada, Utah, Western Colorado and Northern New Mexico.
Both mates collect the nest materials but only the female builds the nest. It is a bulky cup-shaped nest made with grass, rootlets, lichen, moss and sedges. It is lined with softer material such as grass, hair and feathers.
It is usually built in a cavity among boulders, under rock or in crevice in cliff.
The female lays 2 - 5 white to creamy-white eggs with indistinct darker markings. She incubates alone for 14 days.