Blanford’s Rosefinch

Blanford’s Rosefinch Agraphospiza rubescens is resident southeast Tibet and northwestern Yunnan north to southern Gansu and southern Shaanxi. Inhabits open areas and rocky valleys with thick undergrowth in connection to coniferous and mixed forests, also forest edges, from 1400 m to 3600 m. Forages on ground. Rare/Uncommon. Unstreaked, fairly uniform, medium-sized rosefinch with a notched tail and no obvious supercilium. Male has head, upperparts, and rump crimson, with maroon tinge to crown and mantle. Wings, tail blackish-brown (may look almost uniformly brown when folded) with crimson edges and tips of median and greater coverts. Underparts crimson with pinkish tinge, grading to pinkish-grey on belly and almost white undertail coverts with blackish scaling. Female has olive-brown upperparts, wings and tail darker with a reddish-brown tinge (may show slight wingbars, rump reddish-brown. Pale grey-brown below, white undertail coverts with blackish scaling (more diffuse than in male). First-winter male duller, browner. Male common rosefinch is brighter red; female dark-breasted rosefinch is darker, lacks reddish rump, has more slender bill, and more obvious wingbars and tips to tertials. Bill grey-horn above, yellow below (at base); thinner than bill of common rosefinch. Feet (orange-)brown. Chirpy song may recall double-note song of Great/Japanese Tit “twi-tju, twi-tju, twi-tju” (second notes on lower pitch), but may also be more varied; usually given from top of tree. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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