Common Rosefinch

Common Rosefinch
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus, male, Qinghai, China (32.0763889, 97.0640000), elev. 3680 m (12,070 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)
Common Rosefinch
Male, Kanda Nunnery (32.291641, 96.512173), Qinghai, elev. 3870 m (12,960 ft.), August. (Craig Brelsford)
Common Rosefinch
Common Rosefinch, female, Cape Nanhui, Shanghai, April. Common Rosefinch is a scarce passage migrant in the coastal areas of Shanghai. Further inland, the species is an uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor. (Craig Brelsford)

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus is a wide-ranging Palearctic species, breeding from Scandinavia to the Russian Far East and Tibetan Plateau. In China, roseatus breeds northern Xinjiang and Qinghai east to Shaanxi and south to Sichuan, western Guizhou, and northwest Yunnan; winters south China. Race grebnitskii breeds northern Inner Mongolia (Hulun Lake and Greater Khingan Range), also wintering south China. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Versatile, breeding in bushy clearings and along lushly vegetated watercourses in montane deciduous forests as well as in juniper scrub above timberline, to 4500 m (14,760 ft.). On passage and in winter in lowland forests and scrub, to sea level. Usually in pairs or flocks, foraging on ground, in bushes, and in canopy. ID & COMPARISON Breeding male roseatus has deep red head, throat, upper breast, and rump; brown lores and ear coverts; brownish-red upperparts with some indistinct black streaking; underparts grading to lighter red on belly and flanks; and whitish lower belly and vent. Long, notched tail blackish with brownish-red edging. Wings black with brownish-pink fringes to coverts forming two wingbars; paler fringes to tertials. Female lacks bright red plumage, being plain olive-brown above with thin black streaking on head and upperparts. Wings show double buffish bars. Grey-brown to pale buff or whitish underparts (palest on throat and belly-vent), also streaked (blurry on flanks) except for lower belly, vent, and undertail coverts. Dark eye stands out on plain face. Juvenile slightly warmer olive-brown than female. First-summer males may be completely female-colored or have only partly red or orange head. Male grebnitskii darker, but differences subtle, especially when plumage worn. BARE PARTS Stubby bill grey; feet brown. VOICE Distinctive call a rising whistle, djueet, often given in flight, even by migrants. Song a series of call-like whistles, pleased-to-meet-you, monotonously repeated. — Craig Brelsford

THE ROSEFINCHES OF CHINA covers all species in the genus Carpodacus in China. Click any link:

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
Scarlet Finch C. sipahi
Streaked Rosefinch C. rubicilloides
Great Rosefinch C. rubicilla
Red-mantled Rosefinch C. rhodochlamys
Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch C. pulcherrimus
Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch C. davidianus
Pink-rumped Rosefinch C. waltoni
Pink-browed Rosefinch C. rodochroa
Dark-rumped Rosefinch C. edwardsii
Spot-winged Rosefinch C. rodopeplus
Sharpe’s Rosefinch C. verreauxii
Vinaceous Rosefinch C. vinaceus
Pale Rosefinch C. synoicus
Tibetan Rosefinch C. roborowskii
Sillem’s Rosefinch C. sillemi
Siberian Long-tailed Rosefinch C. sibiricus
Chinese Long-tailed Rosefinch C. lepidus
Pallas’s Rosefinch C. roseus
Three-banded Rosefinch C. trifasciatus
Himalayan White-browed Rosefinch C. thura
Chinese White-browed Rosefinch C. dubius
Red-fronted Rosefinch C. puniceus
Crimson-browed Finch C. subhimachalus

See also:

Taiwan Rosefinch Carpodacus formosanus


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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