Editor’s Note: This is a shell account and still needs to be completed, but is a species we plan to cover.
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis Swainson (1832)
6 taxa separate into 3 larger coastal, tundra-dwelling Gray-cheeked subspecies(Gray-cheeked Group) and 3 smaller alpine-interior Brown-cheeked subspecies (Brown-cheekedGroup).
Gray-cheeked Group: Large to medium-small; gray cheek includes L. t. griseonucha, L. t.umbrina, and L. t. littoralis. Characterized by uniformly gray auriculars and hindcrown; umbrina and griseonucha very large (largest taxa in genus Leucosticte). Different populations are variable in size and in the amount of gray on the heads of the males with Hepburn’s Rosy-Finch
(L. t. littoralis) recognized by the solid gray hood instead of the typical gray cap. Brown-cheeked Group: Medium-small to small; brown cheek (more similar to Black Rosy-Finch) group includes L. t. tephrocotis, L. t. wallowa, and L. t. dawsoni . Characterized by brown auriculars that contrast with gray hindcrown; mostly found in interior mountains from n. Rocky
Mtns. south to Wallowa Mtns. and Sierra Nevada.
Object of study: all vocalizations
Known range: Is known as an altitudinal migrant throughout much of the West. In autumn and winter descends to lower elevations north to southwestern Canada, south to New Mexico and East to the fringes of the western plains. Is the most northern of the 3 Rosy-Finch species. Like with crossbill piece put eBird maps where needed for each species.
Flight call: Most conspicuous call of the species is chew. This call ascends briefly, then loud, buzzy and descending in pitch. Chew calls vary extensively in pitch within and among individuals. seeer or zzeer call as well. There appears to be much overlap in the flight calls of the three Rosy-Finches.
Preferred foods: Various seeds from weeds and shrubs, but also found at feeders in lowland valleys during the winter.
Additional Notes/Irruptions: They are possibly the highest-altitude breeding bird in North America. Does irrupt to certain areas in higher numbers some years.
FiRN Needs: Recordings needed. We need to update these sections for each still. There are only 13 recordings of this hard to record species digitized in the collection. There are no examples of several of the listed subspecies. The only subspecies documented in the collection (1 recording) is ssp. griseonucha found on Aleutian and Kodiak Islands – this subspecies is largely resident. Recordings of the species flocking in winter are greatly needed since all are from late May to late July.
FiRN Needs: Recordings from the entire distribution area would be appreciated.