Land Bird Conservation Plan Colorado  

Executive Summary
Overview of Colorado
Physiographic Region 36
Physiographic Region 62

  • Alpine Tundra
  • Aspen
  • Cliff/Rock
  • High Elevation Riparian
  • Lowland Riparian
  • Mixed Conifer
  • Mountain Shrubland
  • Ponderosa Pine
  • Sagebrush Shrubland
  • Spruce Fir
  • Wetlands

  • Physiographic Region 87
    Implementation Strategies
    Literature Cited

    Physiographic Region 62: Southern Rocky Mountains

    Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte australis)

    Associated Species: Often found in alpine habitats used by American Pipits, Horned Larks, and White-tailed Ptarmigan.

    Distribution: In breeding season this species is found in alpine tundra in Colorado, south into northern New Mexico, and north into southeastern Wyoming. Winters at lower elevations in mountain valleys, foothills, and eastern plains. Breeding and winter distributions are very local. Colorado is the center of their distribution.

    Habitat Requirements: Brown-capped Rosy-Finches breed above treelimit in cliffs, cirques, talus slopes, and rock slides (Bailey and Niedrach 1965). Some nesting occurs in abandoned mines or buildings. Edges of snowfields often used for foraging.

    Ecology: Arrives on breeding areas in April-May but nesting delayed until late June or July. Remains in alpine until winter snows cause migration to lower elevations. Diet is comprised primarily of vegetative material, especially seeds of grasses, sedges, and forbs (Braun 1980). Brown-capped Rosy-Finches are commonly observed at feeders in mountain or foothill urban areas in winter. Often nomadic outside the breeding season. Knowledge of many aspects of their ecology is lacking.

    Management Issues and Conservation Recommendations: Suitable nesting habitats considered limiting. Grazing, mining, recreation, road building, and water storage development have impacted alpine habitats. Because breeding areas are very localized, this species is vulnerable to environmental and human disturbances. Because of its isolated breeding range, it is not monitored by the BBS or other monitoring programs.

    Reasons for Concern: This species has a high conservation need locally and throughout its range. Also, a very high proportion of this species' total population (estimated at 100%) occurs within this physiographic area, indicating that this area has the highest (and perhaps sole) responsibility for the conservation of this species.

    Biological Objective: Maintain current populations and breeding distribution of this species in alpine habitats of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, as based on results from the M2001 and other monitoring programs.

    Habitat Objectives: Protect cliffs, talus slopes, and cirques known to have breeding populations of Brown-capped Rosy-Finches.

    Selected References: Bailey and Niedrach 1965, Braun 1980.

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