The mountain finches are birds in the genus Leucosticte from the true finch family Fringillidae. This genus also includes the rosy finches named from their pinkish plumage. They are apparently closely related to the bullfinches (Marten & Johnson, 1986) and to the Pine Grosbeak (Arnaiz-Villena et al., 2001), diverging from them not quite a dozen mya, at the end of the Middle Miocene.
These birds are typically found in barren mountainous regions. Many species eat more insect material than other finches.
The full list of species is:
- Plain Mountain Finch, Leucosticte nemoricola
Black-headed Mountain Finch, Leucosticte brandti
Tawny-headed Mountain Finch, Leucosticte sillemi
Asian Rosy Finch, Leucosticte arctoa
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis
Black Rosy Finch, Leucosticte atrata
Brown-capped Rosy Finch, Leucosticte australis
- Arnaiz-Villena, A.; Guillén, J.; Ruiz-del-Valle, V.; Lowy, E.; Zamora, J.; Varela, P.; Stefani, D. & Allende, L. M. (2001): Phylogeography of crossbills, bullfinches, grosbeaks, and rosefinches. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 58: 1159–1166. PDF fulltext
- Marten, Jill A. & Johnson, Ned K. (1986): Genetic relationships of North American cardueline finches. Condor 88(4): 409-420. PDF fulltext