WatchList Species Account for Black Rosy-Finch
(Leucostictae atrata)


Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species


Photo: Bill Schmoker, http://schmoker.org

Breeding on cliffs above tree-line in the high mountains of the northern Great Basin from northeastern Nevada to southwestern Montana, the Black Rosy-Finch forages for insects and seeds in snow banks and along their melting borders. At most locations, this is the highest-nesting species. In winter it is driven down to lower elevations, to high deserts and valleys, where it forages on patches of bare ground and at feeders, in large flocks. At night, they form communal roosts in caves, mine shafts, and abandoned buildings. One of the least-known North American birds, its actual nests have only ever been reached by three researchers.


There is little information on population trends, though there may have been a recent drop it its population. The species sometimes outnumbers other rosy-finch species in winter flocks and roosts in Wyoming and Utah. Its breeding habitat is protected by its remoteness and inaccessibility; this, however, makes monitoring changes in its population difficult.