Brown-capped Rosy-Finch: Medium finch, pink-red overall with black forehead, brown head, breast, back. Black bill in summer, yellow with black tip in winter. Forages on ground, eats seeds, sometimes insects. Swift bouncy flight, alternates rapid wing beats with wings pulled to sides.
Range and Habitat
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch: Resident in the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming to New Mexico; descends to lower elevations near breeding areas in winter. Lives in alpine tundra and meadows; winters in nearby lowlands.
No other North American species from the Mexican border up breeds at as high an elevation; they will stay in these areas even in chilling -35 C winters as long as snow depth does not obscure their food sources.
Rocky Mountain National Park is thought to support a breeding population of 1,000-2,000 Brown-capped Rosy-Finches.
The population of the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch is declining according to the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Data seem to indicate a steady decline over the last 30 years with average annual total counts of over a thousand in the 1970's compared to about 500 in the 1990's.
A group of rosy-finches are collectively known as a "bouquet" of finches.
The Brown-capped Rosy-Finch has a small range, estimated at 16,000 square kilometers. It is native only to the United States and resides in a tundra ecosystem. It has an estimated population of 45,000 individual birds. It is not believed to meet population size or decline thresholds that would necessitate the species' inclusion on the IUCN Red List. Because of its current population status, the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch currently has an evaluation level of Least Concern.