Common rosefinch

Carpodacus erythrinus

Common rosefinch, photo: Kristi Kirsimaa

They are about the size of a sparrow and their plumage is very striking. Male birds are crimson all over, but the young and female bird are more or less evenly the brown shade of sparrows. They favour damp and sparse groves, river valleys and wooded meadows as habitats, but also parks and cemeteries. They can also be found in junipers and clearing bushes. Common rosefinches always live alone or in pairs; seldom in hatches. They never live in large groups. The female bird builds the nest on her own and it is usually located pretty close to the ground, in a spruce. The nest is built of grass and looks rather sloppy and irregular – it is fluffy, has a thick bottom and thick walls, and there are horsehair and other hair inside of it. Common rosefinches are rather cautious and if they are disturbed, they might leave the nest. Both parents bring food to the chicks; often, male birds do it more than female birds. In general, they are herbivores and eat plant seeds, leaf buds, and berries. Insects have a rather small proportion in their menu.