The Black Rosy-Finch is a medium- to large-sized finch with long wings and tail. Adults are blackish washed with pale rose on the belly, rump, upper- and under-tail coverts, and wings, with a band of gray extending from the eye across the back of the head.
This species forages for insects and seeds on the ground; in winter, they may show up at feeders in large flocks. At night, these finches form communal roosts in caves, mine shafts, or abandoned buildings. Black Rosy-Finches nest on the ground, in cracks or holes in cliffs, on small cliff ledges under overhanging rocks, or under rock piles.
The Black Rosy-Finch nests at some of the highest altitudes of any species in North America. Although its breeding habitat is protected by this remoteness and inaccessibility, it also makes it difficult for researchers to study its habits and monitor its population. This attractive finch’s most serious threat is climate change, which is predicted to reduce alpine habitat.