Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch

Leucosticte tephrocotis
Range Map

Rosy-Finches are remarkably handsome birds. All rosy finches live in an alpine or tundra environment. The Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch has a wide range and large numbers throughout Alaska, and western Canada and the United States. My meetings with this species were in the Sierra-Nevada mountains west of Bishop California in the community of Aspendell, and on the Sandia Crest, northeast of Albuquerque (New Mexico).

Taxonomists recognise six subspecies in two groups of Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch:

  • Gray-Cheeked Group
    • L. t. griseonucha or Aleutian Rosy-Finch. Breeds Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan Peninsula, and nearby islands. They spend winters throughout breeding range and to Kodiak Island.
    • L. t. umbrina lives or Pribilof Rosy-Finch lives on the Pribilof Islands, St. Matthew Island, and Hall Island (Alaska).
    • L. t. littoralis or Hepburn’s Rosy-Finch breeds in south-central Alaska, southwestern Yukon, northwestern British Columbia, southeastern Alaska, western British Columbia, Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon, and south to Mount Shasta in northern California. They spend winters in the southern part of their breeding range, extending east to central Montana and south to Lassen County (California), western Nevada, northern Utah, and central New Mexico.
  • Brown-Cheeked Group
    • L. t. tephrocotis or Cassin’s Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch breeds in the Alaskan Brooks Range, Yukon, British Columbia, western Alberta (Canada), and northwestern Montana. They spend winters from southern British Columbia east to Manitoba and south to Lassen and Inyo Counties (California), Nevada, Utah, and northern New Mexico.
    • L. t. wallowa or Wallowa Rosy-Finch breeds Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon. They spend winters south to central and western Nevada and central-eastern California.
    • L. t. dawsoni or Sierra Nevada Rosy-Finch lives in the Sierra Nevada and White Mountains of California.

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