Streaked Rosefinch

Streaked Rosefinch
Streaked Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilloides, male, Pamuling Temple (30.101555, 101.181815), Sichuan, China, elev. 4200 m (13,780 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)
Great Rosefinch, Streaked Rosefinch
This montage shows two individuals, one (1, 2) a male Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla, the other (3-5) a male Streaked Rosefinch C. rubicilloides, photographed in July within a few hundred meters of each other in semi-desert near Dulan, Qinghai, China, elev. 3340 m (10,960 ft.). The species are deceptively similar, a situation neatly summed up by the Chinese name for Streaked Rosefinch: “pseudo-Great Rosefinch” or 拟大朱雀. Note more strongly streaked back of Streaked Rosefinch and smaller white spots on breast. (Craig Brelsford)

Streaked Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilloides occurs Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, with rubicilloides eastern Tibet to Qinghai and Gansu to western Sichuan; non-breeding northern Yunnan. Ssp. lucifer southwest and southern Tibet. HABITAT Breeds to 5100 m on plateaus and mountainsides with scattered, scrubby vegetation; also on grassy meadows. In winter to 2200 m. Sometimes seen around villages and temples. ID & COMPARISON Male has more prominently streaked and darker upperparts than spotted great rosefinch, is deeper red, has smaller, more distinct white spots on underparts, darker centers to wing coverts and tertials, and lacks pinkish-white quasi-patch on ear coverts. Female is similar to red-mantled rosefinch (no overlap?); more heavily streaked than female spotted great rosefinch, is darker above, has darker centers to wing coverts and tertials, and streaked rump. Nominate slightly smaller than lucifer. BARE PARTS Bill brownish-horn, darker above; feet brownish-black. VOICE Loud twink call recalls chaffinch; softer twe-tweuu more like a lark. — 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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