During breeding, both the male and the female rosy-finches grow a pair of "cheek pouches" (called "gular pouches"), opening from the floor of the mouth, which they use to carry large amounts food to the growing young. This finch primarily feeds on plant seeds and insects. The ancestors of the rosy-finches came from Asia. The three rosy-finch species were once considered a single species. The scientific name atrata is Latin for "clothed in black".
Black forehead, cheek, breast and back. Gray patch on rear of head. Rosy-pink belly, flanks, undertail coverts, rump and wing feather edges. Black bill. Short black legs. Long, forked tail. Sexes similar, except female duller in color. First winter birds have a yellowish bill with a dark tip and have duller looking feathers. Juveniles are indistinguishable from other Rosy-Finch species. 5.5 to 6.5 inches in length.
Alpine tundra and high elevation snowfields in winter. Lower elevation mountain meadows and open areas during summer. Often found in mixed-species flocks.
3-5 white eggs. The eggs have a 12-14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 16-22 days. The nest is a bulky open cup of moss, grass, fur and feathers built in a rock cavity on the ground. The female incubates the eggs.
- Sandia Crest, Albuquerque, NM