Leucosticte australis


Only in the highest peaks of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, where ice and rocks are permanent landmarks, will one find the breeding grounds of the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. Amazingly, these small birds find enough food to to raise their small brood. When the cold of fall arrives, the birds move to lower elevations, but are still at higher elevations than most other birds! This is the most southern resident of the rosy-finches, and its scientific name australis is Latin for "southern".


Black forehead. Brownish crown. Brown breast, cheek and back. Rosy-pink belly, undertail coverts, rump and wing feather edges. Dark bill, legs, tail, and flight feathers. Sexes similar, except female is duller than the male and sometimes lacks the rosy plumage. First winter birds have a yellowish bill with a dark tip and have duller looking feathers. 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.

Observed Locations:

  • Sandia Crest, Albuquerque, NM

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1st Winter



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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.