Mongolian Finch

Mongolian Finch
Mongolian Finch Bucanetes mongolicus, Gansu, China, elev. 3470 m, (11,390 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)

Mongolian Finch Bucanetes mongolicus ranges Turkey to East Asia, in China in northern and western Xinjiang and northern Qinghai and Gansu to Greater Khingan Range in Inner Mongolia. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Rocky mountain slopes and barren, stony desert and semi-desert, to 4200 m (13,780 ft.), lower in winter. Often in flocks, usually on ground, sometimes seen extracting seeds from cattle dung. ID Pale finch of arid country, with large head, a stout bill, long wings, and particularly in male a pinkish flush to breast and sides of face (but ear coverts sandy-brown). Crown, nape, mantle, and bend of wing sandy-brown, with brown streaking on crown and mantle; rump sandy-grey with pink wash. Notched tail black, edged whitish; base of tail mostly white. Contrasting wing pattern with two white areas seen in flight and when perched; greater coverts white at base, then black with pink edges; alula black with white edges; primaries black with pink edges; secondaries black with white panel at base. Sandy-grey breast with pink wash extending along flanks; whitish belly and undertail coverts. Female and non-breeding male show weaker pink flush; in female, white on greater coverts and on secondaries is fainter. Juvenile has sand-colored body (whitish belly and undertail coverts) with no pink at all; tail and wing pattern reminiscent of adult, but lacks white at base of greater coverts and has an extra wingbar on median coverts, and wingbars and panel are more buff. BARE PARTS Dark eye, accentuated by white eye-ring, stands out on plain face. Bill greyish-yellow, feet brownish-pink. VOICE Foraging flocks twitter constantly; calls with single, short tjup or doubled nasal tu-vyiit, second note longer and rising in pitch. Breeding males sing slow, chirpy song mixed with melodious tones from atop perch or in flight. — Craig Brelsford

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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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