Alternate Adult is chocolate brown above, with frosty pinkish-gray edges to most of the back feathers, and black wings edged in pink. Underparts characterized by warm brown breast and belly feathers edged in dull pink, transitioning into rosy-pink flanks and uppertail coverts. Head may be almost entirely gray or show limited gray (see below), black throat and forehead, and short black bill. Basic Adult has yellow bill and faded plumage. There are three populations: Interior birds have limited gray on the head that is restricted to the area above and behind the eye and below the dark forecrown; they are brown below the eye. The heads of "coastal" birds, often referred to as "Hepburn's Rosy-Finches," are almost entirely gray with a blackish throat and forecrown. Birds that occupy Beringia are very similar to Hepburn's, but average larger and darker than continental populations. The ranges of interior and coastal birds have significant overlap and mixed flocks may be found.
Length: 16 (cm) Wingspan: 33 (cm)
Series of heavy whistled "chew" notes; also single, slightly buzzy, twangy calls.
Nests in alpine areas above treeline. Generally found above or near timberline, or on lesser peaks with mostly treeless, rocky summits. Some birds move downslope into mid-elevation grassland and shrub steppe habitats during winter.
Nests in cavity or crevice among rocks. Forms large flocks in winter, sometimes hundreds or thousands of individuals. Often seen foraging on ground, but sometimes perches in trees. Typically unwary and very approachable.
Forages mainly on ground, picking at food among bare patches and low vegetation. Eats insects (mostly in summer) and seeds (mostly in winter). Sometimes visits bird feeders in suitable habitat.
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