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Species Guide
A photo of a Brown-capped Rosy Finch (Leucosticte australis)
Brown-capped Rosy Finch

Brown-capped Rosy Finch

Leucosticte australis

The Brown-capped Rosy Finch, Leucosticte australis, presents a charming palette of earthy tones, with adults donning a brown crown, back, and breast. A delightful pink blush graces their belly, rump, and wings, while a stark black forehead offers a striking contrast. These medium-sized finches are further characterized by their short black legs and a long, elegantly forked tail.

Identification Tips

When endeavoring to identify this species, look for the distinctive brown cap and the rosy hues that suffuse the underparts and wing feathers. The black forehead is a key feature, along with the forked tail, which can be observed in flight.


The Brown-capped Rosy Finch is a high-altitude specialist, favoring the mountain peaks of the central Rocky Mountains in the United States for its breeding grounds.


This finch is endemic to North America, with its breeding range confined to the central Rockies. In the winter months, it descends to lower elevations, though the migration is relatively short in distance.


These finches exhibit a gregarious nature, often seen foraging in small flocks on the ground. They are also capable of agile flight to snap up insects from the air.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Brown-capped Rosy Finch is primarily composed of seeds from weeds and grasses, supplemented by insects. Their foraging strategy is adaptable, allowing them to feed both on the ground and in flight.


The breeding behavior of these birds involves nesting on mountain peaks, where they construct a cup-shaped nest in a cavity on a cliff or opportunistically repurpose the abandoned nests of cliff swallows.

Conservation status

The Brown-capped Rosy Finch is currently classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Observations suggest that the population of this species is in decline, raising concerns for its future.

Similar Species

Historically, the Brown-capped Rosy Finch was considered conspecific with other North American rosy finches. However, subtle differences in plumage and location can help distinguish it from its close relatives.

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Brown-capped Rosy Finches on Birda


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