African crimson-winged finch

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African crimson-winged finch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Rhodopechys
Species: R. alienus
Binomial name
Rhodopechys alienus
Whitaker, 1897

The African crimson-winged finch (Rhodopechys alienus), is a pale-colored thickset finch with a heavy, dull yellowish bill. It is found in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria. It was formerly considered a subspecies of the Eurasian crimson-winged finch. It has an average length of 13 cm. and a wingspan of ca. 32 cm. It is light brown overall, with a whitish mid-belly, a black cap and a pinkish pattern on the wings and tail. The female is slightly duller than the male.[2]

This species lives on rocky mountainsides, often at high elevation. It can be found in barren landscapes with little vegetation, and sometimes nests in rock crevices. It feeds on seeds, and during the winter descends in flocks to agricultural fields to find food. The female lays and incubates 4 or 5 blue, lightly speckled eggs.[3]

This species has a disjunct range in the High Atlas of Morrocco and on the Aurès Mountains in north-east Algeria.[4]

At Oukaimeden, Morocco


Differences between African and Asian birds[edit]

There are several differences between Asian crimson-winged finches and African birds:

African birds have a rosy-tinged grey-white central chin and throat, with a narrow brown breast-band below it, whereas this whole area is solidly tawny-brown on Asian birds; the brown breast and flank markings on Asian birds are more extensive than on African birds; and African birds have less black on the crown than Asian birds (on males it often tends to be restricted to the forecrown). Male birds also differ compared to the Asian birds in that they lack the extensive pink in their uppertail-coverts, no black spots on their breast-sides; less distinct black markings on the mantle and ear-coverts and almost no red on the face.[2]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Rhodopechys alienus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Kirwan, Guy M.; Atkinson, Phil W.; van den Berg, Arnoud B.; Shirihai, Hadoram (2006). "Taxonomy of the Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguineus: a test case for defining species limits between disjunct taxa". Bulletin of the African Bird Club. 13 (2): 136–46. 
  3. ^ "Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys sanguineus)". HBW Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2016-11-08. 
  4. ^ "African Crimson-winged Finch: a new endemic species". Retrieved 2016-11-08.