Rosy-finch identification help

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Rosy-finch identification help

Charles Spagnoli
On March 2 I visited the Sandia Crest House when it was, unfortunately, closed due to extremely inclement weather.  I was fortunate enough to find a crowd of rosy-finches collected on the hill below the deck with the feeder.  Most were obviously black, a couple were definite brown-capped, and then there were one or two that might have been gray-crowned.  Unfortunately the viewing conditions were such that colors were difficult to discern, and I have no prior experience with differentiating among the rosy-finch species.

On the other hand, I was fortunate that a friend had a camera with a telephoto lens, and took the below pictures.  I am curious whether any of the lighter-colored birds are gray-crowned, particularly the leftmost and rightmost finches in the last shot - any opinions?

Charles Spagnoli
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Re: Rosy-finch identification help

Rosyfinch
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Hi, Charles--

To my eye, all the identifiable photos are those of Black Rosy-finches. The third photo shows part of the head and crown of a rosy-finch in the lower left portion that is consistent with the Brown-capped species. We would expect the Gray-crowned to show a warmer cinnamon or orange-ish tint, not evident in any of the birds as I see them here. The Black Rosy-finches may have buffy or brownish edges to their contour feathers but generally you can see they are quite dark at their base.

Refer to these links as well as other discussions under the Identification sub-FORUM at this link. http://sandia-crest-birding-forum.3149816.n2.nabble.com/Species-Age-and-Sex-Identification-in-Rosy-Finches-f5077047.html

Since I am no expert, I am also forwarding your post to members of the banding team for a more definitive opinion

Refer to these posts in particular:

http://sandia-crest-birding-forum.3149816.n2.nabble.com/Rosy-Finch-Lineup-tp5077091.html

http://sandia-crest-birding-forum.3149816.n2.nabble.com/Differences-Between-Winter-Plumages-of-Black-and-Gray-crowned-Rosy-Finches-td5546287.html

The above post has a link to this informative article which has two more illustrative photos.

http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/docs/abstracts/41-2FP.pdf

Thanks so much for submitting your photos and posing your question!
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