Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
(Leucosticte tephrocotis)


Picture of bird
© Alan MacKeigan
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch breeds above the tree line in the high mountains of western Canada; it may breed at higher altitudes than any other bird in North America (Macdougall-Shackleton et al. 2000). The negative effects of climate change on snowfield habitats are the primary conservation concern (Macdougall-Shackleton et al. 2000). Because of the remoteness of its breeding habitat, it is not well surveyed and few population trend data are available. However, Christmas Bird Count results suggest a decrease in abundance relative to the 1970s, though the precision of the trend estimate is poor and this assessment is considered to be of low reliability. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate DecreaseLowBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada50,000 - 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

The Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch is a high-alpine specialist, using the edges of snow fields for summer foraging habitat (Macdougall-Shackleton et al. 2000). If climate change continues to reduce the extent and quality of this habitat, this species has the potential to decline dramatically in the coming decades, particularly in the southern parts of its range (Kittel et al. 2002).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northwestern Interior ForestNorthwestern Interior Forest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship